Gujarat polls: Maldhari community asks members to vote against BJP for 'ignoring' long-pending demands

NewsDrum Desk
24 Nov 2022

Ahmedabad, Nov 24 (PTI) An apex body representing Maldhari, a community involved in cattle-rearing in Gujarat, has urged its members to vote against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the next month's state Assembly elections for "failing" to fulfil their long-pending demands.


The call was given by the Gujarat Maldhari Mahapanchayat two days back. Of the nearly 70 lakh members of the community living in parts of Gujarat, around 60 lakh are eligible voters, said Nagji Desai, spokesperson of Maldhari Mahapanchayat.

"Maldharis across Gujarat are being harassed for the last one-and-a-half years and many cases were also filed against them. Many of our long-pending demands are still unfulfilled under the BJP rule. To teach that party a lesson, the panchayat appeals to our community to vote against BJP this time," Desai said.

He was referring to the cases lodged in different cities against Maldharis for letting their cattle roam on roads, which led to accidents and even deaths of commuters.


In a statement, Desai also thanked the Congress and its state unit president Jagdish Thakor for supporting the community.

Some of the main demands, which were not fulfilled yet, include building exclusive localities for Maldharis to live and keep their cattle to avoid accidents, withdrawing cases against the community and giving status of a farmer to cattle-rearers.

"Election is the right time to show our might and make our voice heard. After holding consultation with senior community members, the Mahapanchayat gives this call of voting against BJP candidates. If the party's candidate is a Maldhari, then voters are free to choose whom to vote for," said Desai.


Voting for 182 seats of Gujarat Assembly will be held in two phases - on December 1 and 5.

The Gujarat BJP has not issued any statement in connection with the Maldhari community's call against it.

Maldharis in Gujarat are up in arms against the BJP ever since the party-led government, brought a bill in April that was aimed at stopping the movement of stray cattle on roads in urban areas. The bill had proposed strict punishment for those found guilty of letting their cattle roam on roads.

The Gujarat High Court had criticised the government over the stray cattle menace in the city and asked it to take corrective measures to resolve the issue. However, following a state-wide protest by the Maldhari community, the bill was finally withdrawn in September after Governor Acharya Devvrat returned it for reconsideration. PTI PJT PD NP NP