Rajkot traders object to stern rules ahead of Gujarat polls, call for shutdown
Traders affiliated to the Rajkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) resorted to a day-long shutdown on Monday.
They were objecting to the rigid rules vis-a-vis cash transactions and movement of goods and other valuables imposed by the Election Commission as part of the Model Code of Conduct, ahead of ensuing polls in Gujarat.
The traders were upset after the police seized 1000 kilograms of silver on Tuesday (October 23).
As per the directives of the Election Commission, the limit for transactions and transhipment of goods should not exceed the value of rupees 2,50,000.
The RCCI contended the seized silver was being carried for business purposes to jewellers as such there was not justification on the part of authorities to confiscate the silver weighting 100 kilograms.
The election commission put this cap as a code of conduct measure ahead of the upcoming state polls that take place in December.
Most of the commercial establishments and market places in Rajkot and other suburban areas of the city remained closed.
Meanwhile, office bearers of RCCI and other traders gathered at a nodal point in the city to stage a formal protest on this issue.
The protesting traders stated that they are being harassed by the police and other concerned authorities in the guise of model code of conduct.
"In the name of the code of conduct during elections, the traders and their representatives are being harassed carrying goods worth more than rupees 2,50,000 with them. They are being forced to bring in all the proof and documents regarding cash and also as to where from the goods have been obtained and to where it is being taken. We had submitted a memorandum to the Collector of Rajkot but he did not give any favourable reply. As such the Rajkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called for this Bandh (shutdown). More than 100 trade organisations of Rajkot are in solidarity with us on this issue affecting overall commercial transactions," said Sameer Shah, President of RCCI.
He further mentioned that if the authorities do not respond to their demands to lift such restrictions, their protest would be intensified and traders from other cities of the state would also join in.
The first phase of the Gujarat assembly polls will be held on December 13, while the second will be held on December 17.
Gujarat has 182 assembly constituencies, 13 of which are reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) and 26 for Scheduled Tribe (ST) with 3.78 crore voters who waiting to exercise their franchise after being ruled by Narendra Modi of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for over a decade.
Gujarat's present Chief Minister Narendra Modi is seen as the strongest opposition candidate for general elections in two years, thanks to rapid growth and a perception of corruption-free governance in his state, which has 5 percent of India's population but contributes 16 percent to national industrial output.