Gujarat Assembly elections | Political campaigning banned, locals to be fined for not voting in this village

Gujarat’s Raj Samadhiyala village has been recording close to 100% voting percentage and whosoever deliberately abstain from voting attracts the fine

Updated - November 24, 2022 10:31 pm IST

Published - November 23, 2022 05:09 pm IST - Rajkot (Gujarat)

Image for representation purpose only.

Image for representation purpose only. | Photo Credit: PTI

With the Gujarat Assembly elections around the corner, the entire State is engulfed in election fever. However, the residents of Raj Samadhiyala village in Rajkot district are free from these political dramas as they have barred entry to political parties and campaigning in the village because they think that allowing candidates to campaign would be detrimental to the region.

Raj Samadhiyala village, which is 20 km away from Rajkot, not only banned political campaigning but also imposed a fine of ₹51 on those who do not come out to vote, in order to ensure maximum participation at the time of elections.

Villagers are bound by several rules and regulations framed by the Village Development Committee (VDC) and breaking any of these invokes monetary fine — one of which is not casting vote during elections.

Also Read | 1,621 candidates in fray in Gujarat Assembly polls

The village has been recording close to 100% voting percentage and whosoever deliberately abstain from voting attracts the fine. The Sarpanch of the village is also elected by consensus.

The Sarpanch of the village says that with this decision almost 100% of voting takes place here.

The small village with a population of 1,700 people has formed a committee. A few days before the polling, the members of the committee convene a meeting of the villagers and if someone is unable to vote then a reason has to be given to the committee.

"The rule of not allowing political parties to campaign in the village exists since 1983. No party is allowed to campaign here. The political parties are also aware of this belief that if they campaign in Raj Samadhiyala village they will be harming their prospects. It is compulsory for all the people of our village to vote otherwise ₹51 fine is imposed on them. If someone cannot vote for any reason, they will have to take permission," said the Sarpanch.

The village has almost every modern amenity like an internet connection through Wi-Fi, CCTV cameras, an RO plant for providing potable water, and so on, making life convenient for the villagers. A local said that around 995 voters are there in the village and people here vote as per their wishes.

"Here in our village candidates are not allowed to campaign, so the people of our village give a vote to the leader whoever they think is good for them," said a local. Another local said that political parties are also not allowed to put up banners or distribute pamphlets. "Here people vote in the election as per their wishes but everyone has to come for a vote," he said.

"For the last 20 years I am voting here but campaigning is banned here and voting is compulsory here," said a local.

According to the locals, now five neighbouring villages have taken the same decision, this village has not only limited voting but people are also fined for littering garbage.

Locals are of the view that if every village adopts this thinking then the right candidate will win the election. Notably, the State of Gujarat which has 182 Assembly constituencies will go for polling in two phases on December 1 and 5.

The counting of votes will occur on December 8, which coincides with Himachal Pradesh's result date. The State has been a BJP stronghold for a long and the party has set its sights on returning to power for the seventh term. PM Modi has been Gujarat's longest-serving chief minister from 2001 till 2014.

However, it faces a stiff electoral challenge from the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has named Isudan Gadhvi as its chief ministerial candidate. Congress is also hoping to put its best electoral foot forward to unseat the BJP government. In the 2017 Gujarat polls, the BJP was halted at 99 seats out of a total of 182 seats. The party has been in power for the last 27 years with Narendra Modi being the longest-serving chief minister of the State.

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