Meet the two disqualified in Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls: Both veterans, one’s been with BJP

Raghavji Mungara (Patel), 58 has two criminal cases under Prevention of Damages of Public Property Act and Gohel Bholabhai, 42 has no criminal case

Written by Gopal B Kateshiya , Parimal Dabhi | Ahmedabad | Published:August 9, 2017 4:54 am
The two among the seven rebel MLAs including Shankersinh Vaghela, who voted against the Congress. (File)

The two rebel Congress MLAs, Bhola Gohel, 42, of Jasdan and Raghavji Patel, 58, of Jamnagar rural whose votes were invalidated by the Election Commission rose from the ranks of the Congress. Patel, who is a Leuva Patidar, started out as a taluka unit president in Dhrol in 1978 while Gohil’s first election was from the Jasdan taluka panchayat in 2000. They were among the seven rebel MLAs including Shankersinh Vaghela, who voted against the Congress. Gohel who belongs to the Koli community, holds a Bachelor’s degree in rural studies, is third of four brothers and belongs to Bandhali village in Jasdan. He has been in communicado since Vaghela quit the Congress.

Around a month ago, Gohel announced that he would not contest the upcoming Assembly election and that he would be happy to see his mentor, Koli strongman and ex- Congress MP Kunwarji Bavaliya make a comeback. But Bavaliya and Congress did not read much into it. However, after Vaghela’s resignation triggering rumours of more MLAs quitting to join BJP, 10 Congress MLAs from Saurashtra, including Gohel, were huddled at Neel’s City Club, a resort in Rajkot owned by Congress MLA Indranil Rajyaguru on July 27.

However, Gohel sneaked out of the resort after reportedly receiving a call from fellow Congress MLA from Jamnagar (north, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja that night and has been unreachable since even as other Saurashtra MLAs were flown to Bengaluru the following evening. On Tuesday, Jadeja was also among eight Congress MLAs who cross-voted apart from Raghavji Patel (Jamnagar rural), C K Raulji (Godhra), Mahendrasinh Vaghela (Bayad), Dharmendrasinh Jadeja (Jamnagar north) and Amit Chaudhary (Mansa).

After Gohel went underground, banners ascribed to Congress had come up in Jasdan saying the MLA had gone missing and that anybody providing his whereabouts would be rewarded. Patel has been a five-time MLA, twice on a BJP ticket (he joined BJP in 1989) and quit it with Vaghela in 1995, “because the BJP did not make me minister”, he had told The Indian Express last month. He was elected as Congress MLA in 2007 from Dhrol and in 2012 from Jamnagar rural.

He believes that Patidars are the game-changers in Gujarat elections, and was upset that the Congress failed to cash in on their disgruntlement. He met Ahmed Patel thrice last year, seeking an overhaul in the party, and reportedly pitched himself as a contender for the Gujarat Congress chief’s post. As for Gohel, Congress has lost the Jasdan seat only thrice since Independence, twice against Independents. Bavaliya won from this seat four consecutive times before he was elected to Lok Sabha in 2009. BJP had won this seat in a bypoll in 2009 when Bharat Boghra defeated Bavaliya’s daughter Bhavna. However, the Congress regained it with Gohel defeating Boghra in the 2012 Assembly election by some 10,000 votes.

Son of a farmer, Gohel was among the trusted aides of Bavaliya. When Bavaliya called the shots in Jasdan, Gohel was elected to Jasdan taluka panchayat for the first time in 2000. He was again elected to Jasdan taluka panchayat in 2005 and served as president of the panchayat till 2010. After becoming a legislator, he purchased a Bolero car and also started a petrol pump at Nava Gam vilage in partnership, says his older brother Mansinh. Gohel was chosen as Congress candidate for the Jasdan seat in the 2012 Assembly elections while Bavaliya, then a sitting MP from Rajkot Lok Sabha constituency instead chose to fight the Assembly polls from Botad.

The Congress strengthened its hold over Jasdan seat as the party retained Jasdan and Vinchhiya taluka panchayats in 2015. All this while, docile Gohel played second fiddle to Bavaliya. His family said today they didn’t know where Gohel was. “That evening, he called his wife and informed her that he would be back home on August 9 after voting gets over. Since then, there has been no news of him. This morning, we came to know he is in Gandhinagar for voting,” Gohel’s elder brother Mansinh told The Indian Express. But Bavaliya was bitter on Tuesday. “I saw him with BJP men. He has voted for the BJP. He turned out to be a gaddar (traitor),” Bavaliya said over the phone from Gandhinagar. Boghra, who is now general secretary of Rajkot district unit of the BJP, said Gohel was in touch with “Bapu (Shankersinh Vaghela) and that was as good as being in touch with the BJP,” said Boghra.

Raghavji Mungara (Patel), 58

Two criminal cases: Prevention of Damages of Public Property Act; Pending in courts

Two criminal cases: Prevention of Damages of Public Property Act; Pending in courts

Total Assets: Rs 4.66 crore, Movable Assets: Rs 2.93 crore Immovable Assets: Rs 1.72 crore * Arts graduate, LL.B

Arts graduate, LL.B, Immovable Assets: Rs 1.72 crore , Arts graduate, LL.B

Occupation: Farming & Politics

Gohel Bholabhai, 42

No criminal case:   Total Assets: Rs 26.85 lakh  Movable Assets: Rs 21.85 lakh , Immovable Assets: Rs 5 lakh Bachelor of Rural Studies from J C Kumarappa Gram Vidyapith

Movable Assets: Rs 21.85 lakh , Immovable Assets: Rs 5 lakh * Bachelor of Rural Studies from J C Kumarappa Gram Vidyapith

Bachelor of Rural Studies from J C Kumarappa Gram Vidyapith

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