Speaking at a fair in Kawant taluka of Chhota Udepur district on Wednesday, organised by the Gujarat tourism department, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said, “We are committed to protecting cow, Ganga and Gita (Bhagwat Gita) (Gau, Ganga ane Gita na Raksha mate aa sarkar kattibaddh che) and that is why in this assembly we have decided to bring strict punishment for cow slaughter in the state.” At the event, tribal artistes wearing saffron scarves with the BJP lotus symbol performed in the presence of Rupani, who was the chief guest.
Ger no melo, a celebration of the harvest season, saw performers, mostly from Rathwa tribes, wearing animal masks, painted faces or peacock feathers, dancing to the beatings of “Ram Dhol” (tribal percussion drum). Traditionally, the dancers paint their faces with dots and circles, with a paste of rice and ash.
Four such dance groups, each comprising 10 to 15 members from nearby villages, entered the ground, singing. Some of them had the BJP’s “Adivasi Vikas Gaurav Yatra” flag tied to the drum. The party had organised the yatra last month to reach out to 15 tribal districts.
Devji Bhil, a member of the Hapeswar village dance troupe, said: “Every panchayat has someone from the BJP. They manage and guide the dance teams. They often give us scarves. These are the ones they gave during a past rally which we have used here.”
One dance troupe from the Kadipani village came with the BJP flag and performed a tribal dance at the inaugural function.
Parliamentary secretary and BJP MLA from Kawant, Jayanti Rathwa, said: “Tribal people in this area use such scarves and flags to honour their leaders in the area. They feel proud of it. We often distribute them during BJP events and they tend to keep them. We don’t have any political motive behind such events where people come purely to celebrate.”
Along with Rupani, minister for tourism and tribal development Ganpat Vasava, MP from Chhota Udepur Ramsinh Rathwa and forest and tribal development minister Shabdsharan Tadvi attended the inaugural function.
Addressing the gathering, Rupani said, “After UP elections, Indian politics has taken a new turn towards the politics for development rather than of cast, creed and religion and our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has become the symbol of development in India. There was a crisis of character and lack of transparency in Indian politics, but Modi has created the transparent and honest image of the Indian politics after he took over the charge.”
Rupani added, “This is Gandhi’s Gujarat, Sardar Patel’s Gujarat., Narendra Modi’s Gujarat and that’s why we have implemented strict prohibition law.”