From Bharuch to Bardoli,JD (U) may dent Cong’s prospects

Even though its vote share in the last Lok Sabha polls in Gujarat was just 0.86 per cent,Janata Dal (United) may play the spoilsport this time,more so for the Congress...

Written by Express News Service | Vadodara | Published: March 26, 2009 12:07 am

Party contesting eight seats,to make tribal rights a poll issue

Even though its vote share in the last Lok Sabha polls in Gujarat was just 0.86 per cent,Janata Dal (United) may play the spoilsport this time,more so for the Congress,as it plans to contest eight seats. In the 2004 general elections,the party had contested four seats.

Gujarat JD(U) president and Jhagadia MLA Chhotu Vasava,who cost the Bharuch seat to Congress in a three-cornered fight in 2004,intends to fight from the same seat as well as field Kamlesh Chaudhary from the Bardoli (ST) constituency.

“I was approached by (Sharad) Yadavji around two days ago. Our agenda will include land demand for tribals and giving them land rights,” Vasava said,adding that names of other candidates would be announced shortly.

Faced with a number of criminal charges,including that of murder,Vasava continues to hold sway over the tribal area of Bharuch district after having been elected MLA on four occasions. His three-time LS poll attempt cost the Congress heavily each time.

On the other hand,Chaudhary,with a relatively clean image,is considered a dark horse within the party. He has been a student leader for the last 15 years.

Belonging to Mandvi taluka of Surat,Chaudhary had completed his diploma in Mechanical Engineering from Dr S S Gandhy College of Engineering and Technology,Surat. Chaudhary said: “Though there are schemes for tribals,they never reach us. Crores of rupees are spent on schemes to uplift tribals and prevent their migration,but the problems still exist.”

In the 2004 polls,Vasava polled 106,554 votes,cutting into the Congress votebank. Congress’ Mohammed Fansiwala had lost to BJP’s Mansukh Vasava by 44,719 votes.

This time,the Samajwadi Party has also fielded Kanaksinh Mangrola,an ex-BJP minister,which may see a four-cornered fight at Bharuch,which has remained a BJP bastion for last three times.

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