The BJP may have witnessed a landslide victory in the Gujarat assembly polls but the party’s inability to mollify rebels following the announcement of the candidates in November have also brought a bittersweet experience —with the party losing at least two constituencies to its rebels.
The BJP faced a shock-defeat in Waghodia Assembly constituency where party candidate Ashwin Patel was facing two rebels in the form of seven-term MLA Madhu Shrivastava and influential party leader Dharmendrasinh Vaghela. While Shrivastava, who had expressed immense confidence that he would win an eighth term managed to bag only 14,645 votes, Vaghela truncated the BJP’s unbeaten run from this seat by bagging 77,905 votes. Ashwin Patel, who was the district unit president of Vadodara until his candidature, ended with 63,899 votes.
Dhavalsinh Zala, an independent candidate, has registered an unexpected victory on Bayad constituency of Aravalli district. A Thakor-Kashtriya, Zala was elected as Congress MLA from the same seat in 2017. However, in 2019 Rajya Sabha elections, he cross-voted and later resigned from Gujarat assembly and Congress party. He then joined the BJP, which fielded him in the by-elections from the same seat. However, Zala lost to Congress candidate.
In the present elections, Zala sought party ticket but was denied. Hundreds of his protesting supporters reached BJP headquarters Shree Kamalam in Gandhinagar. He eventually filed nomination as an independent candidate from Bayad.
In Padra Assembly constituency, where the BJP had a rebel candidate in Dinesh Patel alias Dinu Mama, director of Baroda Dairy, the party managed to register a win with candidate Chaintanyasinh Zala bagging 66,226 votes, while sitting Congress MLA Jashpalsinh Padhiyar bagged 60,048 votes. Dinesh Patel also took away 51,109 votes, which could have been a deciding factor for Padhiyar in a two-way contest.
In Nandod, BJP rebel leader Harshad Vasava caused a dent in the vote share of the parties but could not stop BJP’s Darshana Deshmukh from winning the constituency with 70,543 votes.
While Congress’s Haresh Vasava came second with 42,341 votes, Harshad bagged 35,364 votes at the third spot.
A former two-term MLA from Rajpipla and leader of the party’s tribal morcha until he resigned and filed his independent nomination, Harshad Vasava had refused to reconcile with the party after being denied a ticket.
The BJP had suspended Zala, Dinesh Patel, Madhu Shrivastava, Dharmendrasinh Vaghela and Harshad Vasava.