After the murder of her husband Sarman Jadeja in 1986, Santokben had taken over the reins of his gang. Sarman was a petty criminal who had become one of the leading dons in Saurashtra in the 1980s, when Porbander was described as the Chicago of Gujarat.
Santokben’s name had figured in a dozen murder cases but she was never convicted due to lack of evidence.
In 1990, she was elected as an Independent MLA from Kutiyana and became close to then chief minister Chimanbhai Patel.
Kandhal, 40, is the eldest of four brothers. He faces more than 15 cases involving murder, attempt to murder and extortion and has spent a considerable time in jail.
Kandhal’s friends claim he has now given up crime and focuses on social issues.
“There is not much development here and the people of my community want me to enter politics as their representative,” said Kandhal, who would be contesting against BJP’s sitting MLA Karsan Odedara. Both Odedara and Kandhal belong to Mer, an OBC community residing in the coastal areas of Saurashtra.