A stray dog called Moti from Doliya village in Gujarat’s Mahuva taluka is turning out to be a loyal companion of agitating people and a figure of inspiration. It has become an integral part of the 350-km padyatra undertaken by farmers protesting against the upcoming Nirma cement plant at Mahuva. Moti joined the padyatra on March 3 and is, in fact, at the forefront of the march. “Moti was with us when the march was launched. We thought he would go away but he remained with us. Now, Moti has become close to everybody and we take care of him,” says Bhimji Bhil, a resident of the village and one of the protesters. “After we set up our chhavni opposite the Nirma cement plant, the dog appeared from somewhere and started staying with us,” adds Bhimji. “We rest when we are tired but when we try to persuade Moti to do so, he refuses and starts walking.” BJP MLA Kanu Kalsaria, who is spearheading the protest, says, “For us, Moti is one of the agitators and like any other padyatri walks tirelessly. Some of us wonder if Moti can understand farmers’ pain and feeling, why can’t the government”. When the march reached Motiboru village, Moti fell ill and everybody was worried about his health and a person was assigned to provide proper food and care. About 3,500 farmers are part of the padyatra, which will reach Gandinagar on March 17 to submit a charter of demands to the CM.