These are top contenders in Gujarat to look out for as votes are counted
Gujarat assembly election results 2022: The state voted for the crucial elections in two phases.
The much-awaited day for counting of votes in the high-stakes Gujarat elections has arrived after the two-phased Gujarat polls concluded on Monday. Will the ruling BJP be able to retain a seventh straight term in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi? This is the question that will be answered as votes will be counted in 182 constituencies of the state amid tight security. More than 1,600 candidates are in fray and polling was held in 89 seats in phase 1 last week (December 1) while the second phase was held on Monday when 93 constituencies witnessed polling. Exit polls have predicted a record win for the ruling party. (Health warning: Exit polls often get it wrong). This time, the contest is not just limited to the BJP and the Congress, but Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is also in the picture. Pollsters, however, predict that the AAP may not be able to make huge waves.
These are the top candidates for Gujarat assembly polls 2022:
1) Bhupendra Patel: The Chief Minister is contesting from the Ghatlodia constituency in the financial capital of Ahmedabad. It may be a litmus test of sorts for the BJP leader as he had replaced Vijay Rupani last year as the chief minister; the opposition had questioned the BJP’s move.
2) Hardik Patel: One of the most familiar faces of the Patidar agitation, Hardik Patel, is contesting as the BJP’s candidate from Viramgam. He had quit the Congress earlier this year, and blamed top leaders; his barrage of attacks against Rahul Gandhi still continues. Congress' Lakha Bharwad (the sitting MLA) and the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) Amarsinh Thakore are contesting against him.
3) Isudan Gadhvi: The AAP’s chief ministerial candidate - Isudan Gadhvi has been fielded from “the land of Krishna”, Arvind Kejriwal said last month while making the revelation. The Khambhalia constituency - from where he is contesting - is located in the Devbhoomi Dwarka district. Earlier this week, even as the exit polls predicted not more than 20 seats for the AAP, he said his party will win more than 100 seats.
4) Jignesh Mevani: Another key contender this election season in Gujarat is Jignesh Mevani who has been fielded by the Congress in Vadgam, a party stronghold. He has been a vehement BJP critic. He is locked in a three-cornered battle with BJP candidate Manibhai Vaghela - an ex-Congress MLA from the seat from 2012 to 2017; he had later quit the grand old party to join BJP - and the AAP’s Dalpat Bhatia.
5) Gopal Italia: The Gujarat AAP chief is contesting from Katargam in the Surat district. Apart from being at the helm of the party campaign in the state, the AAP leader had recently drawn criticism over his comments on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his mother - a controversy that Kejrwal had dismissed. He was recently made the Gujarat AAP president. Katargam is a Patidar-dominant seat in Surat city, currently held by the BJP.
6) Rivaba Jadeja (BJP) - Ciicketer and Jamnagar native Ravindra Jadeja’s wife Rivaba m is contesting her debut election from Jamnagar North constituency. She has been fielded by the ruling party that dropped sitting MLA from the seat Dharmendrasinh Jadeja.
Among other key leaders among top Gujarat contenders are former Gujarat minister Parshottam Solanki who is contesting from Bhavnagar Rural in the Bhavnagar district. He is a five-time legislator and a prominent Koli leader. He is known as ‘Bhai’ among his admirers.
Seven-time MLA Kunvarjibhai Mohanbhai Bavaliya - who is also a state minister - is contesting from Jasdan seat in Rajkot district. He was once with the Congress before he switched sides.
(With agency inputs)