Godhra: Muslims reportedly gift bikes to Councillors who did not support BJP in Municipality polls

14 independent counsellors in Godhra, who did not support the BJP in the recently concluded elections for the post of President and Vice President of the Municipal Corporation were gifted bikes by the local Muslims. According to reports, The Muslim Ghanchi Samaj in Godhra collected money from the members of the community and gifted a bike to each of the 14 counsellors.

A special felicitation ceremony was reportedly held at the Polan Bazar area in Godhra municipality which was attended by over 3000 people, mostly Muslims. In the event, the 14 councillors (13 Muslims and 1 Hindu) were praised and each was presented with a bike as a gift. Male councillors were gifted bikes while females were gifted scooters. However, according to reports, the only Hindu councillor, Sanjay Soni, returned the gift and instead donated Rs 11,000 towards an education fund.

Firdos Kothi, the President of the Muslim Ganchi Samaj reportedly stated at the ceremony that the councillors were being felicitated because they had always shown solidarity towards Muslims and have never been communally biased. However, according to a Times of India report, Kothi maintained that they are facilitating the councillors for their developmental work and not for voting against BJP. On being asked why they had not facilitated the other councillors who voted for BJP, Kothi replied that political links should not be drawn as those who voted for BJP have not done good work.

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In the recently concluded elections, the BJP reportedly had 18 councillors, 25 were independent and Congress had 1 councillor. 12 of the independent councillors reportedly voted for BJP, resulting in BJP winning both the President and Vice President seats. Before the elections, Muslims in the area had protested that 7 Muslim councillors are going to vote for BJP and they had gone incommunicado.

In recent past, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad had called for Muslims in Karnataka not to vote for BJP. In Gujrat, Muslim votes have always been the object of desire for many political parties as they constitute 10% of the state population. In 34 constituencies of the state assembly, Muslims make 15% or more of the voting population. Muslim votes in the state have predominantly been anti-BJP.

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