A doctor, a builder, a factory owner and a farmer are among the candidates announced by Congress for five of the eight Assembly constituencies in Gujarat which are going to bypoll next month.
The party announced Jayantilal Patel as its nominee for by-election to Morbi Assembly seat in Morbi district, Dr Shantilal Sanghani for Abdasa seat in Kutch district, Mohanbhai Solanki for Gadhda seat in Botad district, Suresh Kotadiya for Dhari seat in Amreli district and Kiritsinh Jadeja for Karjan seat in Vadodara district.
Patel owns a ceramic tile manufacturing factory in Morbi and is also incumbent president of Morbi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This is for the fifth time that Congress has fielded Patel for Morbi seat. He had contested from the same constituency in 1990, 1995, 2002 and 2007 but had lost on all occasions.
“After our sitting MLA defected to the BJP, the party gave me the responsibility of presenting the party’s challenge at the bypoll and I am sure, I will emerge victorious this time,” 63-year-old Patel who is a commerce graduate said.
Morbi seat had fallen vacant after sitting Congress MLA Brijesh Merja resigned as MLA and defected to the BJP in June this year in the run up to the Rajya Sabha election in the state. Kishor Chikhaliya, president of Morbi district panchayat, was also in the race for party nomination for the bypoll but Patel trumped him.
In Abdasa, the Assembly seat which had fallen vacant after sitting Congress MLA Pradyumansinh Jadeja defected to the BJP early this year, Congress has given ticket to Dr Sanghani, a medical practitioner based in Nakhtrana town which is part of Abdasa Assembly constituency. He is a Patidar.
“Our strategy is to field a local leader who would find wider acceptance among all types of voters. Besides being a Patidar, Dr Sanghani is also a medical practitioner and enjoys goodwill of people of all walks of life. Therefore, the party has given him the mandate to contest the bypoll.” said Yajuvendrasinh Jadeja, president of Kutch district unit of Congress.
Dr Sanghani will be fighting his maiden election though he has served as vice-president of Kutch district unit of Congress.
For bypoll to Gadhda Assembly seat, Congress has chosen Mohan Solanki, a Bhavnaar-based builder, as its candidate. Like Dr Sanghani, Solanki will also be making his electoral debut as he takes on former minister Atmaram Parmar in the by-election scheduled for November 3. “I have been staking my claim for a Congress ticket to contest election from Gadhda since 2002. I am thankful to party leadership for showing confidence in me,” 58-year-old Solanki, who has studied till Class IX, said.
He had served as the chairman of Scheduled Castes (SC) Cell of Bhavnagar district unit of Congress.
The Gadhda seat, which is reserved for SC, had fallen vacant after sitting Congress MLA Pravin Maru quit Congress and resigned as MLA in the run up to the Rajya Sabha election in the state early this year.
Suresh Kotadiya, son of late Union minister Manubhai Kotadiya, has been given Congress ticket to take on J V Kakadiya of the BJP from Dhari Assembly seat in Amreli district. Kotadiya, who has served as chairman of agricultural produce market committee (APMC) of Dhari will be fighting his first major election. Kotadiya is a native of Kubda village of Dhari taluka and is associated with agriculture. The bypoll has been warranted after Kakadiya, the sitting Congress MLA resigned and defected to the BJP ahead of Rajya Sabha election.
In Karjan, the party has fielded Jadeja who was a close aide of turncoat MLA Akshay Patel. Jadeja had canvassed extensively for Akshay Patel during the 2017 Assembly election, after seeking a Congress ticket. In 2018, he joined the Rashtriya Saman Paksh (RSP) and helped field independent candidates for the taluka panchayat polls. Six of the eight independent candidate won the elections but later joined the BJP.
After Congress gave him mandate to take on Akshay Patel, Jadeja said his experience of campaigning for Patel will give him a head-start in the bypoll. Senior party leaders, who were aspiring for tickets from the constituency, however, said that Jadeja was a “Kutchi Kshatriya and not a local from Vadodara”, which would not work in the party’s favour. Akshay Patel had also resigned ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls.
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