Haren Pandya's widow to contest polls
Jagruti, the widow of slain former Gujarat minister Haren Pandya of the BJP, Thursday announced her decision to contest the Gujarat assembly elections on a Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) ticket.
"This is not about winning or losing in the election. It is about getting justice for my husband," Jagruti told IANS.
"For 10 years, I fought a legal battle to get justice for my husband and get his killers apprehended. But I was unsuccessful. I asked for help from the BJP which was like Haren's second family. Not only was I denied assistance, there was also opposition," said Jagruti, who will contest from Ellisbridge constituency in Ahmedabad.
"By contesting in the polls, I have decided to take the matter to the people of Haren's constituency (Ellisbridge in Ahmedabad). Let them decide," she added.
Haren Pandya was the minister of state for home in the second Keshubhai Patel government March 1998 to October 2001. He was dropped by Narendra Modi from his council of ministers and shot dead March 26, 2003, in Ahmedabad while he was taking a morning walk.
Pandya had won from Ellisbridge thrice.
On August 29, 2011, the Gujarat High Court dropped charges of murder against 12 people convicted for killing Pandya.
A special POTA court had earlier convicted them.
Jagruti will be fighting the election in a triangular contest with the BJP's Rakesh Shah, while the Congress is yet to announce the name of its candidate for the seat.
When asked why did the BJP not help her in her fight for justice, Jagruti said: "It may be at the bidding of a specific person. I do not know who. Ask the BJP."
On why she chose the GPP floated by rebel BJP leaders Keshubhai Patel and Gordhan Zadaphia to contest the election, Jagruti said the party resembled the BJP of which her husband was a part.
"My husband was a part of the BJP led by Keshubhai. He also leads this party. So I decided to join it."
On her decision to contest the elections only this year and not in 2007, Jagruti said: "All these years, I had to fight on multiple fronts. I had to support my children who were left without their father as well as fight for my husband. Now, I feel I can finally go ahead and contest."