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Shankersinh Vagela Joins Protest against Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati to Woo Kshatriyas in Gujarat

Vaghela said that if historical facts are tampered with in Padmavati, the film will not be allowed in theatres. He warned there is a likelihood of violence in Gujarat and across the country.

Meghdoot Sharon | CNN-News18

Updated:October 26, 2017, 8:03 PM IST
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Shankersinh Vagela Joins Protest against Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati to Woo Kshatriyas in Gujarat
Shankersinh Vaghela has supported the protests against the movie Padmavati, which is slated for release on December 1. (PTI Photo)
Ahmedabad: With dates for Gujarat Assembly polls announced, politicians have started competing for headline space and former chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela doesn’t want to stay out. Even though Vaghela is neither in BJP nor in Congress this time around, he is trying to expand the support base of his newly-launched Jan Vikalp Party. In one such attempt to woo Kshatriyas, he has supported the protests against the movie Padmavati, which is slated for release on December 1.

Vaghela said the community’s demand that the movie should be shown to their leaders before the release was genuine and the producer must oblige.

“The film is caught in a controversy. Producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali ought to show the film to people of the Hindu Samaj and Kshatriya Samaj before it is released. If historical facts are tampered with, the film will not be allowed in theatres. There is a likelihood of violence in Gujarat and across the country. If it is shown in theatres without showing it to the Samaj first… and if there is violence, the film producers should not blame anyone,” Vaghela told reporters.

Vaghela enjoys support from the Kshatriyas of north and central Gujarat. In Gujarat, a section of Kshatriyas gets benefits of reservation under other backward castes category. He also has followers among the Thakors of north Gujarat.

Vaghela’s open support for those opposing the film is being seen as an attempt to woo Kshatriyas ahead of Assembly polls in December.

According to political observer Vishnu Pandya, this may not help Vaghela electorally. “It is mere coincidence that the film is being released just ahead of the Gujarat polls. And although a section of Kshatriyas might feel offended by what is being shown in the film, the issue is not big enough to influence one’s voting decision,” Pandya told News18.

On Wednesday, Vaghela said the Aam Aadmi Party was an alternative to the Congress and the BJP and his newly-launched Jan Vikalp Party was open to an alliance with AAP.

Earlier, he had stated that JVP could consider not contesting those seats where the AAP will field its candidates.

The AAP, however, was quick to react, saying that the party had no pre-poll understanding with any party. “We want to make it clear that AAP will not have any tie up with other parties,” said Harshil Nayak, spokesperson of AAP Gujarat.

“We have urged all none-BJP non-Congress parties not to field candidates where the anti-BJP vote will get divided. AAP itself will field candidates only on those seats where we can either win or put up a tough fight,” Nayak told News18.

Vaghela began his political career with the Jan Sangh and was a key leader in the BJP before revolting and forming his own party - the Rashtriya Janata Party. He later merged his party with the Congress. Earlier this year, he staged a revolt within the state Congress unit and resigned with 14 MLAs.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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