Jambur, Gujarat's 'mini-Africa', celebrates first opportunity to vote
While the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly polls began on Thursday morning, it marked a historic moment for the locals of Jambur in the Junagadh district of the state. Jambur, widely known as the "mini-African" village of Gujarat, is ecstatic as it observes its first-ever prospect to exercise its voting rights, and that too at a special tribal booth.
Why does this story matter?
- Out of the 182 constituencies, polling for 89 Assembly seats takes place on Thursday, with voters set to decide the future of 788 candidates.
- This time, the state might see a three-cornered battle between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress, and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
- The BJP has ruled Gujarat for the past 27 years and is looking to continue its dominance.
Gujarat's 'mini-Africa' celebrates first chance to vote
In a minute-long video posted by ANI, many locals of Jambur can be seen dressed in their traditional outfits. It also shows people dancing joyously, reportedly over the fact that they are eligible to exercise the fundamental right to vote. The second phase of the Gujarat elections is scheduled for December 5, with the counting of votes set to occur on December 8.
Watch: Locals of Gujarat's 'mini-African' village celebrating polling
Here's how this Gujarati village got African roots
With its roots in Africa, this Siddi community is associated with the Junagadh Nawab, who reportedly had brought them from Africa. According to an article posted by Gujarat Tourism, they are "descendants of East African slaves, sailors, and mercenaries supplied by Arab Muslim traders to Indian royalty and the Portuguese over centuries." These people reside in the Madhupur Jambur village in the Gir district.
It's a matter of great pleasure for us: Jambur local
Rahman, a Jambur village resident, said it's a delight to have a special booth for them. "It is a matter of great pleasure for us that the Election Commission has decided to make a special booth for us to vote. We have been living in this village for years. But this is happening for the first time, which makes us very happy," he stated.
'We got status of Siddhi tribal community here'
Rahman also stated that they still follow Gujarati and Indian traditions. "Our forefathers are from Africa and we came to India many years ago. When the fort was being built in Junagadh, our forefathers came here for work; first, we settled in Ratanpur village and then gradually settled in Jaanwar village. We have got the status of Siddhi tribal community," he said.
First phase polling underway in Gujarat
First-phase polling in Gujarat started at 8 am and will continue till 5:30 pm today. Eighty-nine candidates from Congress and BJP are in the fray, along with AAP's 88 candidates. Meanwhile, 70 of the 788 total candidates are female, out of which the saffron brigade has fielded nine, Congress got six, and the AAP fielded five.