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Saturday, Nov 23, 2019

Gujarat by-elections 2019: BJP looks to hurt Congress with aid of rebels, Thakor and Jhala

Fate of the BJP’s two newly-inducted Congress rebels - Alpesh Thakor, contesting from Radhanpur and his close associate Dhavalsinh Zala of Kshatriya Thakor Sena, fielded from Bayad, will be watched keenly. Both Thakor and Zala had resigned as MLAs after cross-voting for the BJP in July Rajya Sabha polls.

assembly-elections Updated: Oct 20, 2019 20:43 IST
Hiral Dave
Hiral Dave
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
Alpesh Thakor had won the 2017 elections on a Congress ticket but is now contesting from Radhanpur as a BJP candidate.
Alpesh Thakor had won the 2017 elections on a Congress ticket but is now contesting from Radhanpur as a BJP candidate. (HT PHOTO/File)
         

The BJP is looking to boost its Gujarat tally in October 21 by-polls for six seats while the Congress aims to recover from the recent defections. BJP currently has 100 MLAs in the 183-member assembly--its thinnest majority since 1995-- and the Congress is down to 69 seats from the 79 it won in 2017 Assembly polls.

Fate of the BJP’s two newly-inducted Congress rebels - Alpesh Thakor, contesting from Radhanpur and his close associate Dhavalsinh Zala of Kshatriya Thakor Sena, fielded from Bayad, will be watched keenly. Both Thakor and Zala had resigned as MLAs after cross-voting for the BJP in July Rajya Sabha polls.

``The people want development and they would vote for me again. This time from the BJP party,’’ said Thakor, who in his late night rallies, has been promising to solve people’s problems after becoming a Minister.

The BJP’s campaign for all the six seats - Radhanpur, Bayad, Kheralu, Amraiwadi, Lunawada and Tharad- has seen invocation of abrogation of Article 370 and Ayodhya Ram temple.

``Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah have done what others feared to do in the last 70 years (by abrogating Article 370) in Kashmir,” said Rupani at Bayad on Thursday, adding, ``The BJP will also fulfill the promise of building grand Ram Temple at Ayodhya. The hearing in the Supreme Court has ended and the BJP has faith in the judiciary.’’

The BJP had won five seats in 2019 assembly by elections but four of its MLAs had to vacate their assembly seats after they won in Lok Sabha polls in 2019, necessitating the by-polls.

The Congress which has seen 10 of its members defect in the past two years is eyeing OBC and dalit votes, especially in the north Gujarat seats of Radhanpur, Bayad and Tharad.

``The BJP has been exposed. It has been trying to divide and rule by diverting the attention from the real problems including the dwindling economy and unemployment,” said Congress Gujarat president Amit Chavda.

The BJP will hope to make inroads in north Gujarat with the help of Thakor and Zala, who came to limelight with anti-addiction campaign and anti-Patidar agitation for OBC quota and won 2017 assembly polls on Congress tickets.

The Bhartiya Tribal Party has two MLAs in the current Assembly and the NCP has one, Jignesh Mevani is an independent while three seats- Dwarka, Talala and Morva Hadaf- at present are suspended.