Withdraw Parshottam Rupala's candidature or face nationwide protests: Rajput leaders tell BJP

A crucial meeting between the ruling BJP and Kshatriya (Rajput) leaders failed to achieve any breakthrough as the community representatives remained firm on their demand.
Union Minister and BJP candidate for Lok Sabha elections Parshottam Rupala during a roadshow, in Rajkot, Tuesday, March 5, 2024.
Union Minister and BJP candidate for Lok Sabha elections Parshottam Rupala during a roadshow, in Rajkot, Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

Ahmedabad | The row over alleged offensive remarks made by Union minister Parshottam Rupala escalated on Wednesday with Rajput leaders rejecting BJP's bid to patch up and threatening to launch nationwide protests if the saffron party fails to withdraw his candidature from Gujarat.

A crucial meeting between the ruling BJP and Kshatriya (Rajput) leaders failed to achieve any breakthrough as the community representatives remained firm on their demand.

"Even though Rupala has tendered his apology at least four times, the community leaders said their only demand was to make him withdraw from the poll fray," senior BJP leader Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, who attended the meeting, told reporters.

Rupala, the BJP candidate from Rajkot Lok Sabha constituency, had triggered a row by claiming that erstwhile 'maharajas' succumbed to the persecution by foreign rulers and Britishers and even married off their daughters to them.

The Kshatriya community in Gujarat strongly objected to Rupala's remarks as the majority of the erstwhile royals were Rajputs.

"All the Rajput leaders told us they will not settle for anything less than the removal of Rupala from Rajkot seat. Though we have urged them to reconsider their demand and forgive Rupala because he has already apologised, the community leaders rejected our request in one voice. They were not ready to accept our request for forgiveness" said Chudasama.

He said the BJP would take a decision in this regard.

The BJP delegation at the meeting was led by Chudasama and also included party leaders Balvantsinh Rajput, Hakubha Jadeja, Pradipsinh Jadeja, Jaydrathsinh Parmar, Kesridevsinh Jhala and IK Jadeja- all Kshatriyas.

Rajput Coordination Committee convener Karansinh Chavda threatened to launch a nationwide agitation against the BJP in the run-up to Lok Sabha polls if Rupala is not replaced.

"We have only one demand - remove Rupala as Rajkot Lok Sabha candidate. We categorically told BJP leaders that the Rajput community will not settle for any other compromise formula other than this. Now, BJP leadership has to decide if Rupala is dear to them or 22 crore Rajputs living in the country, including 75 lakhs in Gujarat," Chavda told reporters.

He said the coordination committee, which represents all the major Rajput outfits in Gujarat, will not organise any more meetings with the BJP on this issue.

"If Rupala is not removed, we will intensify our agitation and it will have an impact on all the 26 seats. We will put up banners across the state and also field independent candidates on the Rajkot seat and contact every house. Our agitation will spread across Gujarat and India if Rupala is not removed," Chavda added.

A day before, Gujarat BJP president C R Paatil urged Rajput community members to forgive Rupala over his remarks.

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