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Rediff.com  » News » Rajkot: Quintessential saffron city

Rajkot: Quintessential saffron city

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April 06, 2006 13:03 IST

If you have been following the Bharatiya Janata Party's rath yatras, have you ever wondered why senior leader Lal Kishenchand Advani chose to kickoff his yatra from Gujarat's Rajkot?

Consider these facts:

The Gujarat chapter of the Jansangh was founded in Rajkot.

The Congress did not even bother fielding a candidate from Rajkot in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.

In last 30 years, only once has the Congress won the municipal elections.

The powerful co-operative sector is in hands of the BJP supporters.

Both Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani are well-known in Rajkot since the early 1960s.

Despite having moved to Delhi, Advani still gets his dentures made from the local dentist.

It's difficult to find a gully or mohalla without a staunch VHP or BJP supporter.

In short, Rajkot is the quintessential saffron city.

Despite all this, why is Rajkot not showing any enthusiasm on the eve of Advani's yatra?

In fact, what we see here is not mere lack of interest, but a kind of resistance amongst people.

Most of the 13 dailies coming out of Rajkot have nothing positive to say about the yatra.

BJP spokesman Raju Dhruv says that more than 50,000 workers will join Advani in his first public meeting. Even if people turn out in huge numbers, it will be more of a victory for the Narendra Modi administration.

The chief ministers of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh will be addressing the function.

Police Commissioner K Nityanadan said, "We have taken extraordinary care while making the security arrangements in the route. We have even deployed Chetak commandoes of the State Reserve Police."

But the people of Rajkot just don't understand what the fuss is all about.

After all, there is not even an election round the corner.

Kinner Acharaya in Rajkot
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