The high turnout of voters in Tankara Assembly constituency in Rakjkot Lok Sabha seat may suggest that BJP candidate Mohan Kundariya, who is the sitting MLA from the area, is likely to retain the seat. But again, Wankaner, a Congress stronghold, has polled higher than Tankara, keeping sitting MP Kunvarji Baliya’s hopes up. Kundariya was recently caught on camera walking on children’s backs at a yoga event.
Of the seven Assembly constituencies in Rajkot Lok Sabha seat, Tankara recorded the highest voting percentage of 65.48 in the polling held on Wednesday. As many as 1,36,767 voters cast their votes even though 72,088 registered voters failed to exercise their franchise. Kundariya has been elected MLA from this seat five times in a row, including the last Assembly election held in December 2012.
During his campaigns elsewhere, the MLA had been telling people that he had not visited Tanakara and Padadhari areas to canvass because he had confidence in his voters and that he expected the biggest lead from that Assembly segment.
What could further bolster his hopes to topple Bavaliya is the fact that Rajkot West, currently represented by Speaker Vaju Vala, also registered a record turnout of 62.62, which is the third highest among all Assembly seats. Of the total 9,91,236 voters in this seat, 1,87,910 cast their votes. This constituency has voters from Rajkot city, and urban voters in the state have tended to vote for the BJP in the past elections.
While Bavaliya would not be disappointed with the voting in Wankaner, he could still be worried about the response in Jasdan, the Assembly constituency from where he had won five times as MLA before getting elected as Rajkot MP in the 2009 General Election.
Wankaner recorded 64. 17 per cent polling. Around 1.41 lakh voters out of the total 2.20 lakh cast their votes. This is around 7,000 more votes compared to Tankara. However, Jasdan recorded only 62.63 per cent voting, the second lowest among all seven seats. There, only 1.34 lakh voters out of total 2.14 lakh voted to choose their representative.
In the 2009 election, BJP candidate Kiran Patel bagged 45,928 votes in Tanakar as compared to 31,998 polled by Bavaliya. However, the Congress candidate had an upper hand in Jasdan with 53,471 votes as against 27,518 of Patel. Wankaner had, in fact, proved decisive in Bavaliya’s victory with the Congressman getting around 27,000 more votes than his BJP rival. Bavaliya can also take solace from the fact that
Rajkot East Assembly seat, which is with Indranil Rajyaguru of Congress, also recorded 64.30 per cent voting.
At present, the remaining two Assembly seats, Rajkot South and Rajkot Rural, are also with the BJP. The counting will take place on May 16.