Reject call for early elections in Gujarat


We are astounded by the gratuitous comment of K.P.S. Gill, Security Advisor to the Gujarat Chief Minister, calling for early elections to the State Assembly to end the climate of ‘fear and violence’. It is highly inappropriate for Mr. Gill to make an explicitly political comment on a subject that falls outside the purview of his assignment.

Worse, the proposition that early elections will help restore normalcy in Gujarat is dangerously misguided. Gujarat’s people have certainly not recovered from independent India’s most shameful pogrom. The situation in the state is marked by extreme communal polarisation, intimidation of the minorities, widespread insecurity and lawlessness. Those responsible for the massacre of 2,000 citizens are at large. The state machinery, still under the control of rank communalists, continues to further terrorise the pogrom’s victims.

These conditions are definitely not


conducive to the exercise of rational choice by voters, central to free and fair elections. Holding elections till peace, normalcy and the rule of law are fully restored, and the culprits prosecuted, will be a travesty of democracy. To voice the election demand on the eve of the Jagannath Rath Yatra is to further intimidate Gujarat’s already fearful minorities.

We appeal to all citizens and political parties to reject early elections and help restore communal harmony in Gujarat.

We urge the Election Commission to clarify that there will be no elections in Gujarat until normalcy and public confidence are fully restored.

Signed, among others, by:
Surendra Mohan, Mohini Giri, Syeda Saidaeen Hameed, Praful Bidwai, Javeed Alam, Teesta Setalvad, Zoya Hasan, Vivan Sundaram, Shabnam Hashmi, Prabhat Patnaik, Nasir Tyabji, Mushirul Hasan, Rajendra Prasad