The Gujarat Assembly is set to see members of four political parties as besides the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) are set to debut in the House.
SP’s entry into state politics is courtesy Kandhal Jadeja, the local strongman in Porbandar who completed a hat-trick victory from Kutiyana seat in Porbandar district.
While the AAP won five seats in the Assembly election results declared on Thursday, Jadeja helped the SP record its maiden victory in the state by defeating BJP’s Dheliben Odedara by 26,412 votes. While the SP candidate polled 60,744 votes, Odedara, the president of Kutiyana municipality got 34,032 votes. AAP’s Bhima Makvana got 19,557 votes and finished third while Congress’ Natha Odedara finished fourth with 8,841 votes.
Jadeja had won his maiden Assembly election in 2012 as a candidate of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which was in alliance with Congress. Jadeja upstaged Karshan Odedara, the then sitting BJP MLA with a margin of 18,474 votes.
In 2017, the NCP gave ticket to Jadeja though it couldn’t continue its tie-up with Congress. But the NCP and Congress parting ways had little effect on Jadeja’s electoral fortunes. The politician, who is son of late “godmother” Santokben Jadeja, defeated Lakhman Odedara of the BJP by 23,709 votes that election and gave the NCP its only seat in Gujarat.
This election, 50-year-old Jadeja, who had more than a dozen criminal cases in the past, filed his nomination papers as NCP candidate on November 11. However, apparently due to Jadeja cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha elections in 2017 and 2020, the NCP refused to issue him ticket. Consequently, Jadeja resigned from the NCP, joined SP and filed nomination hours before the registration closed on November 14.
“This victory means a lot to us. The plant of Samajvad has now been sown in Gujarat and it will grow in the coming years,” Ram Sevak Sahani, general secretary of SP’s Gujarat unit, said on Friday. The NCP did not win any seats this election.
Sahani added that the SP contested in 20 Assembly seats in Gujarat this time and besides winning Kutiyana seat, it finished third in Jetpur seat in Rajkot district by polling 20,788 votes while pushing Congress candidate to fourth position.
“While our netaji (SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav) could not campaign in Gujarat due to Mainpuri bypoll in Uttar Pradesh, SP has big plans for Gujarat. We will contest all the 182 seats in 2022,” Sahani said, adding his party had fielded candidates on 30 seats but 10 candidatures were rejected on various grounds.