Gujarat Assembly election Phase 1: A look at key players, constituencies

1 December, 2022 | Pravina Srivastava

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A tough struggle is being expected on numerous seats today, as the BJP seeks to retain power and the AAP seeks to make inroads into yet another state.

Following heavy campaigning by all political parties, people of Gujarat were poise to vote in the first round of the assembly elections today.

Political parties like as Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress, and Aam Aadmi Party have been racing to make campaign promises as the destiny of the political parties will be decided by nearly 2 crore voters today in 89 seats spanning over 19 districts in Kutch, Saurashtra, and South Gujarat. According to the Election Commission of India, voting began at 8 a.m. and will end at 5 p.m.

The elections are being contested by 39 political parties, who have fielded 788 candidates, including 718 male candidates and 70 female candidates.

The ruling BJP is confident of keeping its 27-year-long control in the state, while Congress is desperate to retain its second-place position in the state, and Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP is taking a risk by capitalising on ‘anti-incumbency’ and concerns such as inflation and unemployment to gain power.

A tough struggle is being expected on numerous seats today, as the BJP seeks to retain power and the AAP seeks to make inroads into yet another state.

Jamnagar North (Jamnagar)

The first on the list is Jamnagar North, where BJP’s Rivaba Jadeja, cricketer Ravindra Jadeja’s wife, Congress’ Bipendrasinh Jadeja, and AAP’s Karsan Karmur are competing.

BJP dismissed current MLA Dharmendrasinh Merubha, who won the seat in 2017 by beating Congress candidate Ahir Jivanbhai Karubhai Kumbharvadiya.

The seat gained prominence after a political feud between two members of the same family erupted, with Rivaba, who is making her electoral debut, running for BJP and her sister-in-law and father-in-law campaigning for the Congress candidate.

Morbi

The second name on the list is Morbi, which has recently become a talking topic following a horrific occurrence in which a suspension bridge crashed into a river, killing over 130 people.

Kantilal Amrutiya, BJP’s replacement for incumbent MLA and Cabinet Minister Brijesh Merja, is running against Congress’ Jayantilal Jerajbhai Patel and AAP’s Pankaj Ransariya.

During the campaign, opposition parties addressed the topic of “mismanagement” in the Morbi event, attempting to corner the administration on the issue.

However, BJP previously won the Morbi Assembly seat in 1995, 1998, 2002, 2007, and 2012, before Amrutiya lost to Merja, who was a member of the Congress party in 2017. Merja then joined the BJP and won the Morbi by-elections again. In 2022, the BJP has Merja and Amrutiya.

Khambalia (Devbhoomi Dwarka)

The seat is noteworthy since the AAP’s chief ministerial candidate, Isudan Gadhvi, is running from there, along with the BJP’s Mulu Ayar Bera and the Congress’ Vikram Madam.

The campaign is anticipated to be triangular, with the BJP and AAP competing closely. Congress party is thought to be strong since its candidate, Ahir Vikrambhai Arjanbhai Madam, won the seat in 2017. Congress has chosen a new candidate for the 2022 elections.

Rajkot West (Rajkot)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi previously ran in a by-election in Rajkot West in 2002. Former Chief Minister Vijay Rupani ran for the seat in 2017 Assembly elections as well. Darshita Shah, a two-time Deputy Mayor, has been nominated by the BJP to run against AAP’s Dinesh Joshi and Congress’ Mansukhbhai.

The seat is seen as a BJP stronghold, with the party having not lost it since 1985.

In the 2017 Assembly elections, Rupani defeated Indranil Rajguru of the INC by a margin of 53,755 votes.

Dwarka Devbhoomi

Pabubha Manek, BJP candidate who has never lost an election in the previous 32 years, faces off against Congress candidate Malubhai Kandoria and AAP candidate Nakum Lakhmanbhai Boghabhai.

Manek had won the first three elections as an independent (1990, 1995, and 1998) before joining Congress and winning the seat in 2002. Later, on a BJP ticket, he won the Assembly elections in 2007, 2012, and 2017.

Manek won the seat in the 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections by beating Congress’ Ahir Meraman Markhi by a margin of 5,739 votes.

Talala (Gir Somnath)

BJP has selected Bhagwan Barad to run against AAP’s Devendra Solanki and Congress’ Mansinh Dodiya in the seat.

Barad was elected to the Assembly in 2017. He resigned as a Congress MLA from Talala Gir Somnath district and joined the BJP, where he was offered a ticket from the same seat. Barad is a powerful leader in the Ahir community. He was elected to the Talala constituency in 2007 and 2017.

Katargam (Surat)

This time, the seat is poised to see a fascinating struggle, as AAP has fielded its state president Gopal Italia, who is seen as a significant Patidar leader, from the constituency. He was a significant figure in the Patidar quota protest in 2015.

He will be up against Congress candidate Kaplesh Variya, a Prajapati (OBC), and BJP candidate Vinodbhai Amrishbhai Mordiya.

Porbandar

A stiff fight is expected on the Porbandar seat, where the BJP has re-nominated sitting MLA and four-time winner Babu Bokhiria. He is up against Arjun Modhwadia of the Congress and Jeevan Jungi of the AAP.

Bokhiria was elected in 1995, 1998, 2012, and 2017. Arjun Modhwadia, the former Gujarat Congress president, beat Bokhiria in 2002 and 2007. This time, they are also face to face.

Kutiyana (Porbandar)

Kandhalbhai Jadeja, the late don Santokben Sarmanbhai Jadeja’s son, is running for the Samajwadi Party. He won the 2017 Assembly elections on the NCP ticket, but he recently left the party after being denied a ticket. He is up against Dheliben Odedra of the BJP, Bhimabhai Makvana of the AAP, and Nathabhai Odedra of the Congress.

Gujarat voters will go to the polls on December 1 and 5, and the votes will be counted on December 8.