Diamond workers from north Gujarat threaten to boycott polls

February 17th, 2009 - 8:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Palanpur (Gujarat), Feb 17 (IANS) Workers of diamond polishing units from north Gujarat, who lost their jobs due to the global financial meltdown, have threatened to boycott the Lok Sabha elections to protest government apathy towards their plight.
“We are firm on boycotting the Lok Sabha elections. Whether to field our own candidates or not will be decided within a fortnight,” Banaskantha Diamond Majdoor Union president Ashok Purohit said Tuesday.

He was speaking at a condolence meeting held at Palanpur, 150 km from Ahmedabad, for two diamond workers who committed suicide last Saturday and Sunday.

Purohit made it clear that forthcoming Lok Sabha polls will be boycotted by the diamond workers of Banaskantha district.

“We will not yield to allurements. We will go to every house and even to remote villages of the district urging the people to boycott the polls.”

He said a meeting of diamond workers from all north Gujarat districts - Patan, Mehsana and Banaskantha - will be called shortly to discuss the future course of action about fielding candidates.

“Our plan is to involve 30 lakh (3 million) diamond workers in the state who with their families would be numbering 1 to 1.5 crore (10-15 million) in terms of votes,” Purohit said.

“We will take out a rally soon in various parts of the district and will go house to house explaining our stand for the poll boycott,” said K.S. Mogra, president of the Banaskantha Vikas Manch.

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