Dabhoi (Gujarat), Dec 8: A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) contestant Shailesh Sotta from Dabhoi assembly constituency in Vadodara district on Thursday sparked a communal row after he allegedly said that the population of ‘topis and dadhiwalas’ need to be cut down. “If any ‘topi and dadhiwala’ is in the crowd (in Dabhoi), pardon me but there is a need to reduce their population,” he said, reported Hindustan Times.

Shailesh Sotta said that he had come to Dabhoi to instill fear among the people of the Muslim community. He warned that if occasional communal clashes do not stop,  ‘eent ka jawab pathhar se’ (a tit for tat reply) would be given to them. Sotta added that many people had warned him to not say this but 90 per cent of them are supporting him. “…then why shall I stop speaking about the 10% people?” he asked.

Slamming other party candidates for speaking for the other communities during elections, Sotta said that the candidates don’t talk about the communities they are born into. “They shouldn’t contest elections if they want to talk about that (other communities),” he said, adding, “But I will fight election for the religion in which I am born.”

Shailesh Sotta is a councillor from Vadodara and contesting assembly elections for the first time. He also said that he came to Dabhoi to scare people and not the other way round. “…if anti-social elements remain scared, then it is required for this place…There was a meeting of a peace committee in which a criminal said that he is scared of Sotta. There is nothing wrong in this,” Sottar said.

Social worker Nishant Varma on Thursday filed a complaint with the election commission over Sotta’s communal speech and for “violating the poll code”. “He is clearly heard saying that Muslim population must be reduced in the area, and that Muslims will face a befitting reply. He is saying all this to appease 90 per cent Hindu voters and not the rest 10 per cent,” Varma said.