Debjit Mukherjee: Among the BJP’s first list of 160 candidates contesting this year’s Gujarat Assembly elections, one name has been drawing a lot of attention. Payal Kukrani, 30, an anaesthetist who works at a private hospital, has been fielded from the Naroda Assembly seat in Ahmedabad city. Payal’s mother Reshma is a corporator from the Saijpur Bogha ward in Ahmedabad.
But it is her father’s identity that is raising the hackles. It is in the neighbourhoods of Naroda Patiya and adjoining Naroda Gam, which make up the constituency, where on February 28, 2002, more than 96 Muslim residents were killed and numerous others raped and injured by mobs over a span of 10 hours, with many of the victims and their homes torched in what was later described as “the largest single case of mass murder” during the Gujarat riots. Payal’s father Manoj Kukrani was one of the 32 who were convicted in the case.