Vote for parties that will tackle your longstanding problems instead of the BJP : DWUG to diamond artisans
DWUG has communicated the decision to over 3 lakh diamond workers connected directly or indirectly with the organisation
The Diamond Workers’ Union Gujarat (DWUG), the apex body of diamond workers in Gujarat, has urged diamond artisans to abstain from voting for the BJP in the upcoming assembly election and instead cast their votes for political parties that are willing to resolve their long-standing issues in a just manner.
Surat (Gujarat) : The Diamond Workers’ Union Gujarat (DWUG), the apex body of diamond workers in Gujarat, has urged diamond artisans to abstain from voting for the BJP in the upcoming assembly election and instead cast their votes for political parties that are willing to resolve their long-standing issues in a just manner. This action is meant to strike a severe blow to the saffron party in the Patidar-dominated regions of Surat and Saurashtra, where elections are imminent.
The union has sent letters to approximately 25,000 of its members in Gujarat, more than 40,000 diamond workers on more than 150 Whatsapp groups, 80,000 workers who are members of the DWUG’s Facebook page, and more than 60,000 members on the Telegram group, urging them to boycott the BJP and vote for the political parties that guarantee the resolution of the problems faced by the diamond artisans in Surat and Saurashtra region.
Ramesh Jilariya, the president of DWUG, stated to HT, “As an umbrella group, we have been addressing the BJP administration in Gujarat on a variety of concerns affecting the diamond workers’ community, but they have shown little interest in resolving the issues. Since twelve years ago, almost thirty lakh diamond artisans from Surat, Navsari, and the Saurashtra region have benefited. “The time is now or never”
Jilariya enumerated the problems faced by diamond workers and asserted that the BJP administration has failed to execute labour rules in the diamond business and that company owners exploit the artisans. In the previous decade or so, the desire to eliminate the professional tax on diamond workers in Surat has not been met.
The world’s largest diamond cutting and polishing industry is located in Surat. The industry employs over 6 lakh diamond workers in over 4,500 large, small, and medium diamond factories located in the diamond districts of Katargam and Varachha — the two assembly seats from which the prominent faces of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have been fielded: Gujarat AAP president Gopal Italia and former Patidar quota reservation convenor Alpesh Kathiriya.
Approximately 92% of the workforce in the diamond industry in Gujarat comprises of Saurashtrian Patels. In the Surat assembly districts of Varachha, Karanj, Katargam, and Kamrej, there is a sizable number of Patidar voters, who make up a significant proportion of diamond workers. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won around 27 municipal seats in 2021 due to the influence of the Patidar quota reservation agitation and the demands of diamond workers.
In 2018-2019, just prior to the global coronavirus pandemic, 16 unemployed diamond workers committed themselves in the diamond business. The DWUG urged that the government of Gujarat provide financial aid and employment to the relatives of the victims, which was not granted.
“The government provides exgratia to the families of those died in accidents and mishaps, but avoids providing financial aid to the families of diamond workers who commit suicide as a result of unemployment. Approximately 95% of diamond employees in Gujarat have not been paid lockout pay, according to Bhavesh Tank, vice president of the DWUG.
In Surat’s municipal elections in 2021, the AAP won 27 seats from Patidar-dominated areas. The bulk of diamond employees voted against the BJP since their demands for exemption from professional taxes, enforcement of labour regulations, etc. were not met, according to Tank.
The Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) has granted financial assistance worth Rs 50 crore for unemployed diamond workers in Gujarat, according to DWUG officials. In Surat and other cities in Gujarat, not a single diamond worker has received financial help.
Damji Mavani, secretary of the Surat Diamond Association (SDA), stated, “It is true that diamond employees are confronted with numerous challenges, such as professional tax, labour law implementation, etc. It remains to be seen, however, how effective the DWUG’s call will be among diamond workers.”
“The union office-bearers wanted the BJP to choose renowned candidates from the Surat diamond sector, but we renominated incumbent MLAs Kumar Kanani in Varachha and Vinu Moradiya in Katargam,” said a senior BJP leader who requested anonymity. This has angered DWUG members, who are now inciting diamond workers. The voters are intelligent and will not heed their advise”