Nirma battle won, new party raises pitch for final war

Anirudh Jadeja, old hand in Mahuva's fight against Nirma factory, comes on board to steer campaign forward, motivate villagers to vote for associate Kanubhai Kalsaria


Brajesh Kumar | December 10, 2012

Anirudh Jadeja meeting a villager
Anirudh Jadeja meeting a villager

It was 8.30 pm and the village was waiting for Anirudh Jadeja from Rajkot. An old associate of Sadbhavna Manch chief Kanubhai Kalsaria, Jadeja had played a vital role in rallying villagers against Nirma, a company that proposed to open a cement factory on a water body crucial to the agriculture of the region.

“He is an excellent orator who speaks the language of the village,” Jairam Bambhania, a 32-year-old farmer told me. He had come to Mahuva to campaign for Kanubhai and his party and had agreed to hold a community meeting in Dugheri village.

The village folk had eaten their dinner early that night. Shops rolled down their shutters and women patted their infants to sleep—all to hear Jadeja. Even television sets in provision stores, that attracted the old and young on normal days to come together to watch gold old hindi films, had been switched off for the day. Entertainment would be of a different sort that night.

All had gathered at the centre of the village where a huge platform stood standing next to a gigantic tree. The place, surrounded by houses on all sides, acted as a centre for any community meeting to be held in the village.

At about 8:45pm a jeep with a Sadbhavna Manch flag fluttering on its bonnet entered the area and a man in his late forties got out of the vehicle. Tall and bald Jedeja looked far from a charismatic figure I had imagined when the villagers had described his oratory skills to me. Somehow I had thought him to be younger, even a bit more dashing. But then who said oratory skills was subject to the speaker’s personality. As soon as he came out of the jeep, villagers gathered around him to greet him. He knew each by their names. “Kem cho Shoma Kaka, Ramesh bhai, Kadvi ben,” he asked.

After exchanging greetings he moved to the platform and sat on the mattress spread for him. All those who had gathered sat up front, mostly on the platform, and the rest perched on the stairs of the two shops on the periphery. Women sit on the ground below. About 200 people have gathered to listen to ‘Aniruddhabhai’.

Jadeja began with reminding people about how bravely they had fought to get their land from Nirma and the role of their leader Kanubhai who then was with the BJP. “He left the BJP for you and is fighting the election on his own. So it is your responsibility to make him and his party win,” he told them. “The fight that started two years back has not ended. It will end when Kanubhai and his party wins,” he added. Extolling them to vote, he told them how important their vote was. “Go to vote with the same enthusiasm as you attend a wedding or celebrate a festival,” he told, with each of his sentences was applauded by the gathering with resounding claps.

‘The land of the village belongs to the village, the pasture land of the village belongs to the village and water of the village belongs to the village,’ said this orator the village looked up to. And adding strength to his voice, they shouted in unison, ‘dharti mata ki jai’, ‘jai jawan jai kisan’. 



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