With Congress and AAP declaring their support for Mevani, and activists from various parts of the country campaigning for him, will the Dalit leader make the cut?
“They are so desperate that in the temples where we worship, the religious leader and the priests have been asking us to talk our families and relatives into voting for BJP.”
The BJP has been eyeing tribal votes in this election after sensing a dent in its loyal Patidar vote bank.
Many textile traders who were involved in the protest say they will vote for the BJP again because the Congress fielded an unknown candidate and was not able to win their confidence.
The Varachha road constituency which is the centre of Surat’s diamond trade has been slipping out of the BJP’s hands since the area saw massive violence and arson in 2015.
Congress leaders responded by protesting outside the chief minister’s house, where they allege they were subjected to excessive police force.
Indranil Rajguru, who won the Rajkot East seat for the Congress in 2012, has decided to contest against Vijay Rupani from Rajkot West this time.
Rajguru has been campaigning in the Rajkot West constituency for a year now, and is known for his aggressive, macho image.
Though the party brought out an amended second list of candidates, certain sections remain disgruntled.
While the BJP has rarely talked about the community in a positive light, the Congress too is ignoring Muslims this time as it tries to build a soft Hindutva image in the state.
Angry over the list, which is full of repeat candidates, Patidars and Congress defectors, at least 30 disgruntled BJP leaders have submitted their resignations.
Zafar Sureshwala, the Muslim face of the BJP, sees a Congress plot to spread fear but his brother was among those who alerted the police about the markings that were placed soon after posters warning of Paldi becoming another ‘Juhapura’ appeared.
Former MP Dinubhai Boghabhai Solanki is the prime accused in the 2010 murder of Amit Jethwa, whose family is still fighting for justice.
Close to 50 ASHA workers and two leaders of the movement were taken into police custody the day Narendra Modi visited Vadodara, apparently because the police was probing the possibility of opposition parties backing the protest.
The terror suspect was hired on the basis of a letter of recommendation from CARE Hospital, Surat, but Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani has so far not made a public issue of that.
Other textile traders have also said that they are thinking about whether to continue supporting the BJP after facing huge losses due to the GST.
As political tides take a new turn every day, the BJP seems to be in an uncomfortable position in the state it has ruled for two decades.
Traditional birth attendants play a central role during pregnancies, childbirth in remote areas. But due to the government’s push towards institutional deliveries, younger women have stopped taking up the profession.
The Bhadbhut weir project on the Narmada river, which the prime minister inaugurated, will ruin their livelihood, the fisherman say.
The activist was one of the leaders of the Dalit Asmita Yatra last year and the co-convenor of the Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch.
In a pattern seen in several villages across the state, Dalits are being attacked by members of the upper-caste community for going against generations-old norms.
Despite a high court order, the local police station refused to file an FIR. The case has now been transferred to a different station.
“At times we get justice when we complain, but on most days discrimination is a way of life for us.”
A mob of 100 people recently attacked a Dalit man and his mother in their home, apparently unhappy with where he had disposed of a cow carcass, and threatened to burn down the houses of all Dalits in the village.
Fifteen days on, the situation in the flooded villages of Banaskantha in north Gujarat is far from what can be called normal.
While the Congress focused on notching up a victory, it ignored other developments. This keeps with its failure to capitalise on the growing disillusionment with the BJP in Gujarat.
Married at the age of 16, Laxmiben now marches and fights for Dalit women issues including access to basic healthcare services.
This movement may have ended, but leaders said they will continue to take up the struggle of landless Dalits everywhere.
As far Gujarat is concerned, the cases of atrocities against Dalits have increased post Una, so has the state repression.
Marking one year of the public flogging of Dalits at Una, the week-long protest will continue despite the police revoking permission, activists say.
The traders have incurred a loss of over Rs 5000 crore in the last 22 days, while 15 lakh labourers have lost their jobs due to the shutdown.
The Sarvaiya family is still recovering from injuries and struggling to make ends meet, all the while waiting for justice that was promised to them a year ago.
Activists spent days creating awareness amongst the villagers, including women, telling them about cases from around the world – like Chernobyl and Fukushima – so they understood the hazards of a nuclear plant near their homes.
The custodial death of a tribal man and the incarceration of a Dalit and two Muslims, all arrested for cattle slaughter, is seen by locals as part of an extortion racket.
Rationalists have been trying to fight the ‘bhuvas’ who wield enormous influence in rural Gujarat.
A new grouping of Dalits is conducting a yatra in Gujarat to meet the state’s elected representatives and ask them what they are doing for the community.
Fifteen years on, victims of the communal violence continue to face threats, stigma and state apathy, their hope for relief and justice slowly dwindling away.
For victims of caste atrocities, long-drawn legal processes made it impossible to sustain the fight for justice.
While some families have returned after the village sarpanch promised them safety, several others still feel that their homes are still unsafe.
The family was freed a month after their arrest, when the Gujarat high court quashed charges against them. But the policemen involved have faced no consequences.