Mahatma's birthplace sees contest between history-sheeters

Porbandar is the place which people around the country and the world remember and venerate as the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation. 

Bapuji had spread the message of peace, integrity and non-violence across the world. More recently, the candidates who represent his birth place are his anti-thesis.

Porbander continues to be of interest to those who respect the Mahatma and visit the Kirti Mandir, the temple built in memory of Gandhi and his wife Kasturba. Now Porbandar has seen the birth of candidates with criminal backgrounds. In these Lok Sabha elections, both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) have fielded candidates with criminal backgrounds, known history sheeters.

While the Congress claims to take pride in the Mahatma’s legacy, it has decided to extend support to Nationalist Congress Party’s Kandal Jadeja, the son of ‘Godmother’ Santokben Jadeja. In the past, she ran a reign of terror in the region. Memories of the ‘Godmother’ are yet to fade and the Congress, as part of its pre-poll alliance with the NCP, has decided to extend support to Jadeja.

Kandhal has at least nine criminal cases pending against him including that of murder. ``The people of the constituency are with me and they have seen my work, and they vote for me, not my past,’’ said Jadeja. He said he was confident that this time he would win the LS seat for his party. Jadeja has been representing one of the assembly seats in the constituency as an MLA.

The BJP,which has been trying to claim a higher moral ground in these elections, is no different from the Congress. They  have fielded Vithal Radadiya, popularly known as the gun-toting MP who threatened a toll booth operator with his gun near Vadodara in 2012.

 Radadiya has at least ten criminal cases pending against him though the toll booth case was withdrawn after he crossed over to the BJP.    Though both sides have put up candidates with criminal backgrounds, they both are slinging mud at each other, the pot calling the kettle black.

“Vithalbhai is accusing me of having a criminal past, but he should first look at himself. The cases against me were politically motivated,’’ says Jadeja while on his campaign trail.

 He tells his voters that in a number of such cases, he has been cleared by the court and as his listeners applaud, he adds, “In our country, till you are convicted you cannot be called a criminal candidate, Vithalbhai has more cases then me,’’ he claims.

BJP’s Radadia, is no different. “I will not target him or his workers. But I am not scared of his criminal record. I have been elected three times from here and I do not believe in violence,’’  he told Deccan Herald.  He says that he believes that this will be a peaceful election and that his track record will ensure his victory by a hefty margin.

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