Christians deciding factor in Gujarat district

Assembly elections would be held in two phases on Dec. 13 and 17.

Posted on December 5, 2012, 6:57 PM

Surat:Christians, though a minority in Gujarat, could be deciding political fortunes in the state’s Dang district in the upcoming assembly elections.

The tribal-dominated district in south Gujarat has a total population of 144,000 people. Out of which 36,450 tribal electorates are Christians and 46,659 are from Kanbi community.

There are 29,934 voters from Bhil, 19,475 from Varli and 3,237 from Muslim communities in this constituency.

Assembly elections in the state would be held in two phases on Dec. 13 and 17.

The vote sharing percentage in the constituency shows that tribal Christians could be a deciding factor with 26 per cent vote share.

Political experts said the district has come a long way after the anti-Christian valence in 1998.

In 2006, Subir in the district was in the limelight following the anti-conversion movement by the saffron groups.

In the 2010 district and taluka (block) panchayat elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party had offered tickets to five Christian candidates from Subir, including two women.

“There is always a benefit for certain community which dominates a region like Christians do in Dang. This increase the bargaining capacity and speeds up development,” said Satyakam Joshi, associate professor of Centre for Social Studies.

He said that Dang is the only assembly constituency among the total 182 in Gujarat where Christian voters have such dominance.

“But over the last many years polarization has definitely increased in Dang. In a family, one could find a brother following Hinduism and his other sibling Christianity,” he added.


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1 Comment

  1. dmelloalex said,

    December 9, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Christians were attacked in Dangs (Maha-Guj. border) during 1998 Christmas eve. Churches were vandalized, even the property of one of the churches was taken over by the brother of a Christian who is a non-Christian as it was built on a ancestral land. Fundamentalists gave a call that all Christians living in that area should leave by Jan 19, 1999. With Mr Dolphy D’souza’s leadership a meeting was organized in Nasik with the help of Ramdas Athavle and about 3000 dalits were mobilised to attend this meeting besides 250 people from Orlem traveled by bus. It was Mr Ramdas Atahvle who warned the perpetrators that if you want Christians to leave this place, then you have to leave first. This acted as a deterrent to the trouble makers. Mr Dolphy along with some prominent people also met the CM at that time and succeeded in baring the entry of VHP stalwart & a Swami who did “ghar vapsi” prog. ( currently in jail for bomb blast case) into Maharashtra to create more communal problems across Maharashtra. That was a swift & successful move under Mr. Dolphy’s leadership as we were fighting issues under the banner of VOTE.


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