AFTER A HIGH-OCTANE campaigning by the BJP and Congress, stage has been set for Thursday’s polling for the Jasdan Assembly bypoll. The bypoll was warranted after five-time Congress MLA Kunvarji Bavaliya resigned as MLA and joined the BJP in July this year, just six months after he won from the seat on a Congress ticket.
Chief Electoral Officer of Gujarat, Murali Krishna, said the Election Commission had made all preparations for the polling that will begin from 8 am and end at 5 pm on Thursday. An official release said that 262 polling booths have been set up to facilitate voting in 103 villages and one town in Jasdan, Vinchhiya and Gondal talukas of Rajkot district which are part of the Jasdan Assembly constituency. While 165 of the polling stations are in Jasdan taluka, Vinchhiya and Gondal talukas have 90 and seven, respectively. As many as 1,140 staff members have been deployed for election duty, and they were sent to their allotted polling stations after randomisation of EVMs in Jasdan
Jasdan Assembly seat has total 2,32,116 registered voters. Of them, 1,21,180 are men and 1,09,936 are women.
Counting will take place on Sunday.
A total eight candidates are in the fray, but the main contest is between Bavaliya, now a BJP candidate, and Avsar Nakia of the Congress. Bavaliya has remained undefeated from this constituency since 1995 and had won it four consecutive times between 1995 and 2007. In 2012, Congress had fielded Bhola Gohil since Bavaliya was as an MP from Rajkot. Gohil went on to win the election. However, Bavaliya returned to Jasdan as a Congress candidate during last year’s Assembly election and won for record five times. His only defeat had come in 1990 when, contesting as a candidate of Janata Party, he had lost to Bhikhabhai Bambhaniya, an Independent.
In all, Jasdan seat has witnessed 14 elections, including one bypoll in 2009. The Congress has won it nine times and Independents four times. But the BJP has never managed to win the seat during a general election. Its sole victory had come in the 2009 when Bharat Boghra had defeated Bavaliya’s daughter Bhavna. Boghra was a protege of Bavaliya, but had defected to the BJP after Congress denied him ticket to contest the 2009 bypoll.