Why is Dugheri silent on election eve?

Although villagers are sure of Kanubhai’s victory, they are a bit apprehensive of any last-minute change. They fear if BJP wins the Mahuva seat, it could revive the Nirma cement factory proposal


Brajesh Kumar | December 13, 2012

Dugheri is unusually quite on election eve. If not for the fluttering party flags of Sadbhavna Manch (on most houses), it would have been difficult to say the village was going to cast its vote the next day.

Only few days back feverish activity was seen in the village after people participated in a rally in support of Sadbhavna Manch chief Kanubhai Kalsaria in Gariadhar, an adjoining constituency.

What’s the matter I ask, Maoji Bhalia, a 50-year-old farmer in the village.

“The village is nervous and apprehensive before the elections. While we are confident of Kanubhai’s victory, the thought of any turnaround is needling us he tells,” me.

There is widespread belief in the village that if BJP wins the Mahuva seat, it could revive the Nirma cement factory proposal again. The village was at the forefront in the movement against the factory that they believed would take a toll on their flourishing agriculture. The factory had shut its shop after ministry of environment and forest withdrew the environment clearance last year. 

“We just want to go out there and vote in full majority in order to ensure we are not subjected to another period of struggle and uncertainity,” Bhalia says.

While the village is silently preparing to come out and vote in large numbers, at the far end of the village, few young men of the village are discussing why Kanubhai, the Sadbhavna chief who won three times form Mahuva seat chose to fight from Gariadhar.

“Kanubhai’s name has always been associated with Mahuva. Here even a child knows who he is. It’s his den. So it was quite a shock to know that he was not fighting from Mahuva,” Ramesh Bhalia says. “Not many know Bharat Thakar, the Sadbhavna Manch candidate from Mahuva,” he adds. “Kanubhai had to shift his seat as 62 villages from Mahuva constituency has gone to Gariadhar. So it’s only logical for him to choose Gariadhar,” chips in Bhalia’s friend Ramji.

At another end of the village, almost on the coast, Kanji Bhalia and his wife Rekha are preparing to come back to their house in the centre of the village for the big day tomorrow. They have been leaving on their ‘wadi’ (field) for last few days keeping an eye on freshly sprouting grass which will be used for feeding their cattle.

“We will have to be in the village near the polling station to caste vote tomorrow,” Kanji tells me.



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