Gujarat Assembly Election, Key seats and candidates: Gujarat is all set to go to polls for the first phase of elections on Thursday in 89 seats spread across 19 districts in Saurashtra-Kutch and southern parts of the state where 788 candidates are in the fray. Elections to the 182-member Assembly will be held in two phases in December, and the results will be declared on December 8, along with the Himachal Pradesh Assembly. Key seats up for grabs in the first phase of elections are the Khambhalia seat, Jamnagar north, Morbi, among others. Voting will be held between 8 am and 5 pm on Thursday across 14,382 polling stations, the office of the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) said in a release.
AAP’s chief ministerial candidate Isudan Gadhvi is contesting from Khambhalia seat in Devbhumi Dwarka district of Saurashtra region, while AAP state unit president Gopal Italia is contesting from Katargam in Surat. Among other prominent candidates in the first phase are Rivaba Jadeja, the wife of cricketer Ravindra Jadeja, who is contesting from Jamnagar (North), and BJP MLAs Harsh Sanghavi and Purnesh Modi from different seats in Surat and five-time MLA Parshottam Solanki from Bhavnagar (Rural). Sitting Congress MLAs like Lalit Kagathara, Lalit Vasoya, Rutvik Makwana and Mohammad Javed Pirzada are among the candidates in fray in the first phase from seats in Saurashtra region.
The BJP and Congress are contesting in all 89 seats, while AAP is contesting in 88 seats, as its candidate from Surat East constituency Kanchan Jariwala had withdrawn his candidature on the last day.
Key seats to watch out for in phase 1 elections:
Khambhalia: Mulubhai Bera (BJP) vs Vikram Arjanbhai Madam (Congress) vs Isudan Gadhvi (AAP)
This Assembly seat will be an interesting watch, as AAP has fielded its chief ministerial candidate Isudan Gadhvi from the seat, which has the dominance of the Ahir community. Since 1972, only Ahirs, who are categorised under the OBCs, candidates have been elected from the seat. The AAP is banking on the popularity of the former journalist to grab the seat.
Isudan Gadhvi is pitted against senior Congress leader and incumbent MLA Vikram Madam and BJP veteran Mulu Bera.
Morbi: Kantilal Shivlal Amrutiya (BJP) vs Jayanti Jerajbhai Patel (Congress) vs Pankaj Ransariya (AAP)
After the Morbi tragedy, which claimed the lives of 135 people, the BJP has dropped sitting MLA Brijesh Merja, a cabinet minister, and instead gave ticket to five-time MLA Kantilal Amrutiya. The BJP leader grabbed headlines for jumping into the Machchhu river to rescue people when the colonial-era suspension bridge collapsed. Merja won the Morbi seat in 1995, 1998, 2002, 2007, and 2012.
Kantilal will face the electoral contest with Congress’ Jayanti Jerajbhai Patel and Pankaj Ransariya from the Aam Aadmi Party.
Jamnagar North: Rivaba Ravindrasinh Jadeja (BJP) vs Bipendrasinh Chatursinh Jadeja (Congress) vs Karsanbhai Karmur (AAP)
BJP candidate Rivaba Jadeja is hoping to win her electoral debut in Gujarat’s Jamnagar North constituency. A Rajkot native, Rivaba is popularly known as cricketer Ravindra Jadeja’s wife.
Rivaba will contest against veteran Congress leader Bipendrasinh Jadeja whose campaign is being managed by Ravindra Jadeja’s sister and the Congress women’s wing head Nainaba Jadeja. A businessman by profession, he has been with the party for 32 years and is the president of the Jamnagar Chamber of Commerce.
Meanwhile, third player AAP has fielded Karsan Karmur who quit the BJP in 2021.
Karanj: Pravinbhai Manjibhai Ghoghari (BJP) vs Bharti Prakash Patel (Congress) vs Manoj Sorathiya (AAP)
The candidate in focus from this constituency is AAP Gujarat’s general secretary Manoj Sorathiya. He was among the star campaigners of the party, apart from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann, among others. He was also in the race for the party’s chief ministerial candidate, along with Isudan Gadhvi (who is chosen as the CM candidate) and AAP Gujarat president Gopal Italia.
Sorathiya will be facing Pravinbhai Manjibhai Ghoghari from the BJP and Bharti Prakash Patel from the Congress party.
Katargam: Vinodbhai Amrishbhai Mordiya (BJP) vs Kalpesh Harjivanbhai Variya (Congress) vs Gopal Italia (AAP)
The candidate in focus from the Katargam constituency is Gopal Italia, who will be fighting this 2022 Gujarat Elections on AAP ticket. An influential Patidar leader, Italia, played a key role in the Patidar quota agitation in 2015. He previously worked as a clerk in a government office and was removed from the job after he hurled a shoe at a Gujarat minister in 2017. Before that, he also worked as a police constable.
Italia will be facing Congress candidate Kaplesh Variya, who belongs to the Prajapati community that is categorised under Other Backward Classes (OBC) and BJP’s Vinodbhai Amrishbhai Mordiya, Minister of State for Urban Development and Urban Housing Vinod Moradiya, who is also a Patidar like Italia, and currently represents Katargam constituency in Surat.
Campaigning for the first phase of the elections in the state, which has seen the rule of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), ended at 5 pm on Tuesday. Out of the 89 seats going to polls in the first phase, the BJP won 48 in the 2017 election, the Congress had won 40, while one seat was bagged by an independent candidate. Apart from the BJP, Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), 36 other political outfits, including the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Samajwadi Party (SP), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) have also fielded candidates in various seats which will go to polls in the first phase.