Guj Polls: BJP Candidate Says ‘Need to Reduce’ Muslim Population
BJP contestant from Dabhoi Assembly seat in Gujarat, Shailesh Sotta, on Thursday courted controversy by allegedly saying that the population of "topi and dadhiwalas", an apparent reference to Muslims, should be "reduced".
He also said that he came to Dabhoi to "instill fear" and that if sporadic communal clashes were not stopped, a "befitting reply" would be given.
At what appeared to be a small gathering in Dabhoi town in Vadodara district, Sotta purportedly said:
If any ‘topi, daadhiwala’ (anybody wearing a cap and sporting beard) is sitting here (in the crowd), then pardon me, but there is a need to reduce their population. Many leaders asked me not to say this, as it may go against me, but if 90 percent of people are supporting me, then why shall I stop speaking about the 10 percent people?
The video of the speech he made in Gujarati has gone viral.
Sotta, a Vadodara councillor who is contesting Assembly polls for the first time, said they (Muslims) will have to stop sporadic clashes (communal incidents) or they will get 'eent ka jawab pathhar se (tit for tat response)’.
Dabhoi is going to polls in the second phase on 14 December.
He said he came to Dabhoi to "scare people" and not the other way round.
Sotta could not be contacted on phone for his reaction.
He is pitted against senior Congress leader Siddharth Patel.
After Sotta's video was aired by some news channels, Ahmedabad-based social worker Nishant Varma filed a complaint with the State Election Commission against Sotta over his "highly communal and instigating" comments against the Muslim community and for "violating the poll code".
"He (Sotta) is referring to Muslims as topi and daadhiwala which is completely unacceptable and a clear violation of the model code of conduct as well as various provisions of the CrPC and IPC," he said.