WIFE OF late Haren Pandya, former minister of state for home, Jagrutiben Pandya has written to BJP state president CR Paatil and to party incharge city president Paresh Lakhani, to take strict action against former Ellisbridge MLA Rakesh Shah for his comment comparing the party’s voteshare during his tennure with that of her husband’s time.
Shah, who was among the 40 sitting MLAs dropped by the BJP this time, has been quoted in a local paper as having said that during Pandya’s time the BJP would win 66 per cent of the votes in Ellisbridge while in his time the vote share went up to 80 per cent.
Jagrutiben, in the letter, has sought that Shah withdraw his statement and called it a “unbecoming, political statement made out of jealousy, that attempts to rake up the unfortunate incident (of her husband’s murder)”.
Pandya was found dead outside Law Garden on March 26, 2003, and the case had been investigated by the CBI, which concluded it to be a reprisal killing of the Godhra riots.
When contacted, Jagrutiben told The Sunday Express, “My husband was among those committed workers who laid the foundation of the BJP in Ellisbridge and I am shocked how Rakeshbhai is even commenting on his popularity. Who is he to assess him?”.
She said in the letter: “My husband became the victim of an unfortunate incident, which pained, me, the people of Ellisbridge and the whole of Gujarat… Shri Rakesh Shah, with his unbecoming, political statement made out of jealousy tries to rake up the wounds of that incident”.
Jagrutiben also said that in 1990 when Pandya first fought the elections on a BJP ticket the party got only 5.45 percent votes and came at third position.
With his untiring efforts Pandya created a distinct place for the BJP among voters, and the voteshare went up to 72 per cent in 1995, when he fought the second time and the party emerged victorious, she added.
Rakesh Shah told PTI that he never compared his and Pandya’s respective vote shares. All he said during the newspaper interview was that vote share of the BJP has risen consistently, he said.
When contacted Lakhani, who is the in-charge BJP city unit president since Shah is contesting the elections, said, “I have learnt about the letter from my office but have not seen it”.
As per the Election Commission data, in 1995 Pandya polled 71.44 per cent votes, while in 1998 he got 77.43 percent votes.
(with PTI inputs)