BJP candidate Rupala faces wrath of Kshatriyas over his remarks 

BJP candidate Rupala faces wrath of Kshatriyas over his remarks 

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Parshottam Rupala. File
| Photo Credit: V. RAJU

The Kshatriya community continued its protests against the BJP candidate from Rajkot, Parshottam Rupala, for his controversial remarks against its members. 

On Friday, protests were held at around a dozen places in Saurashtra and north Gujarat, with members of different Kshatriya castes demanding that his candidature be withdrawn. 

The Union Minister, during an election campaign speech on March 22, remarked that erstwhile ‘maharajas’ (Kshatriya kings) had succumbed to foreign rulers like the British and forged family bonds with them. Princely families broke bread with the British rulers and also married their daughters to them, he said. Mr. Rupala then praised a Dalit community saying it had not bowed down before the British regime.

Also read: In Gujarat, BJP drops nearly 50% of sitting MPs

In Gujarat, there were hundreds of small princely families before Independence. 

His speech, which went viral on social media, offended the Kshatriya or Rajputs in Saurashtra and parts of north Gujarat with significant hold of different castes of the erstwhile ruling class.

In Saurashtra alone, the BJP has half a dozen legislators or parliamentarians from the Kshatriya community such as cricketer Ravindra Jadeja’s wife Rivaba, who is the Jamnagar MLA, and former Wankaner royal family’s scion Kesridevsinh Jhala, a Rajya Sabha member. 

Minister apologises

After the initial protests, the Union Minister had apologised but various caste groups and outfits like the Karni Sena have intensified their protests by holding group meetings and burning him in effigy or his posters.  “We will not call off the protests till he is removed from the candidate list,” the Karni Sena said. 

P.T. Jadeja, the international president of the Rajput Yuva Sangh, told mediapersons in Rajkot on Thursday that the BJP should withdraw Rupala as its candidate for Rajkot as a precondition for any talks for a compromise.

After the remarks triggered widespread outrage, the State BJP roped in former Gondal MLA Jairajsinh Jadeja to talk to the community leaders and resolve the situation even as Mr. Rupala has remained silent over the issue after his apology. 

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Yuvrajsinh Jadeja urged the community not to compromise with the Union Minister who had lowered the image of the community by making “cheap remarks”. 

State Congress president Shaktisinh Gohil also lambasted the Union Minister and said he was “totally ignorant of history” and “lacked any understanding or knowledge to speak about” the community. 

At a rally on Thursday, a member of the Kshatriya community from Jamnagar said: “Our forefathers had fought Mughals and other invaders and made sacrifices. Can he [Rupala] name one person from his family who died fighting invaders? Rupala should read history before displaying his utter ignorance.”

A senior BJP leader from Saurashtra said Mr. Rupala’s remarks had unnecessarily created a political issue in the run-up to the elections. “He should not have made such remarks at all,” the BJP leader said. 

After the protests, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Gujarat P. Bharathi has sought a report from the Rajkot District Collector on the Minister’s speech. 

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