Saturday, November 24, 2012

Rise and fall of BJP's poster woman

Kodnani is the first BJP MLA, first former minister and the first woman to be convicted in any of the nine riot cases probed by the SIT
Nikunj Soni l Ahmedabad
The verdict in the Naroda Patiya massacre has virtually ended the political career of three-time BJP MLA Maya Kodnani. She has been held guilty of conspiracy and murder in connection with the massacre which claimed 97 people on February 28, 2002.
Kodnani is the first BJP MLA, first former minister and first woman to be convicted in any of the nine ghastly riot cases that were reinvestigated by the SIT on the orders of the Supreme Court.
Considered as party's poster woman in the state, Kodnani is MLA from Naroda and was minister of state for women and child development when she was arrested in the massacre case by the SIT.
Her story has not ended with the Naroda Patiya case verdict as she is also an accused in the Naroda Gam massacre in which eight people were killed on February 28, 2002. Judgment in the Naroda Gam case is pending and is likely to be delivered by this year end.
A gynecologist by profession, Kodnani entered politics when she was elected councillor from the Naroda area in 1995. Her political career picked up after she was first elected MLA from Naroda in 1998.
She wielded great political clout in her constituency as well as in the ruling BJP after her successive victories in 2002 and 2007. Maya won the last assembly election from Naroda by a huge margin of 1.8 lakh votes.
However, she ran into serious trouble after she was arrested by the SIT in March 2009. She was released on bail but her agony did not come to an end as she had to regularly attend court hearings during the trial along with other accused of the case. She lost all her powers after she was removed as minister in the Narendra Modi government.
During the trial of the case, she had gone back to her medical profession and spent her time examining patients at her women's hospital at Saijpur Tower in Naroda.
However, she did attend some BJP functions and Lok Darbars when she could find time.
Two women, Ramila and Geeta Chhara, were also accused in the Naroda Patiya case along with Maya Kodnani but they have been acquitted. In the Dipda Darwaja massacre case, there were two women accused but they also were acquitted by the court.
After delivering the judgment in the case on Wednesday, the judge asked Kodnani whether she wanted to say anything. Kodnani replied that she had been made a victim of politics.
After the verdict, she was taken to jail by police personnel. Now her fate would be decided on Friday when the court will pronounce the quantum of punishment.