Just a day left for filing nomination papers, the Congress on Sunday announced the name of Avsar Nakia as the party’s candidate against Water Supply Minister Kunvarji Bavaliya in the Jasdan Assembly bypoll.
Announcing his candidature, state Congress president Amit Chavda said, “Nakia is former vice-president of Rajkot district panchayat and a sitting member of Rajkot district panchayat. He is a leader from Koli community and has been associated with the Congress for many years.”
The 47-year-old Congress leader is a resident of Pipardi village in Vinchhiya taluka that falls under Jasdan Assembly constituency. Nakia has studied till Class VII and runs a factory. Before, Bavaliya quit Congress, Nakia was among his close supporters. While many of Bavaliya’s supporters followed him to the BJP, Nakia stood with the Congress. He will be contesting the Assembly elections for the first time.
Nakia’s name was announced hours after Chavda along with Congress legislature party leader in the Assembly Paresh Dhanani met seven contenders for the ticket in Jasdan.
“The Congress high command and party president Rahul Gandhi has approved the name Nakia… People of Jasdan have always voted for the Congress. But Kunvarji Bavaliya has cheated and deceived voters of Jasdan and Congress party by joining the BJP. Voters of this constituency will defeat the BJP and teach Bavaliya a lesson,” Chavda said, adding that people of the state were tired of BJP rule marked by unemployment, lack of women’s safety, farmers suicides among others.
Bavaliya, a five-time MLA from Jasdan, had quit the Congress in July this year, and within hours, the 63-year-old Koli leader was made a Cabinet minister in the BJP government. His resignation as a Congress MLA, just six moths after being elected for the fifth time from Jasdan Assembly seat on a Congress ticket, necessitated the bye-election.
Earlier in the day, Chavda and Dhanani reached Jasdan and held a meeting with local party leaders and ticket-seekers. From there, the leaders and ticket contenders drove to an undisclosed location and held a closed-door meeting.
Apart from Nakia, the other ticket contenders were former MLA Bhola Gohil, Rajkot district panchayat member Vinu Dhaduk, Ranjit Meniya, Dhiraj Shingala, Gajendra Ramani and Nathabhai Vasani. While Nakia, Gohil, Meniya and Vasani belong to Koli community, who overwhelmingly dominate the constituency, Dhaduk, Shingala and Ramani belong to Patidar community that forms the single largest electorate group in Jasdan after the Kolis.
The polling the bypoll will be held on December 20 and counting of votes will take place on December 23.