“What’s in a name?” William Shakespeare had said. But when it comes to elections in India, it seems the name matters a lot. In the tribal-dominated Assembly constituency of Jhagadia, Chhotu Vasava is pitted against Chhotu Vasava. While one Chhotu Vasva is the heavyweight tribal leader — who has been winning from Jhagadia since 1990, and was the acting national president of Sharad Yadav-led JD(U) faction following the split in the party during the Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat in August this year — the other Chhotu Vasva is a lightweight candidate propped by the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U), who will be making his electoral debut if his nomination papers are cleared during scrutiny.
The one thing that differentiates the two Chhotu Vasavas is, however, their middle names. Tribal leader Chhotu Vasava’s middle name is Amarsinh, while the other Vasava’s middle name is Abesinh. The affidavit of JD(U)’s Vasava claims that he is a 49-year-old party worker, who has cleared his HSC exams and resides in Valia area of Jhagadia. According to his affidavit, he and his wife have a total cash of Rs 67,000, with no other bank savings, bonds, debentures, loans or vehicles. He has an ancestral farm land worth Rs 15 lakh in current valuation. He has no social media account or email id. He has, however, listed his mobile number in the affidavit. But he could not be contacted on the given mobile number, as it was said to be “non-existent”.
Chhotu Amarsinh Vasava is, however, unperturbed by the nomination of his namesake, who will not be contesting the polls under the JD(U) symbol of “arrow” after the Election Commission declared that the Nitish-led faction was the “real” JD(U). The senior tribal leader, who has decided to contest on the symbol of an autorickshaw of his son Mahesh’s outfit — Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP) — after he forged a pre-poll alliance with the Congress, alleged that the JD(U)’s decision to nominate his namesake candidate was a ploy of BJP president Amit Shah.
“This Chhotu Abesinh Vasava is a notorious guy in the locality, who is not even remotely associated with the JD(U). I know this because I have been the president of Gujarat unit of the JD(U). He has been fielded in this election only because he is my namesake, and they feel that voters will become confused and vote for the JD(U) symbol thinking that they are voting for me. Of course, I will not let their strategy materialise. The votes will not be divided, and I am not worried about it at all.”
Vasava had resigned from the JD(U) on Monday before filing his nomination. Voting in Jhagadia will take place on December 9, during the first phase.
Meanwhile, the tie-up between the Congress and the BTP has not gone down well in the local Congress units. Former Congress MLA Amarsinh Vasava on Tuesday filed his nomination as an Independent from Dediapada constituency, which the Congress has vacated for Chhotu Vasava’s son Mahesh.