(By Aditi Raja, Gopal B Kateshiya, Kamaal Saiyed and Parimal A Dabhi)
Nalin Kotadiya (BJP)MLA from Dhari (Saurashtra)
A supporter of the Patidar quota stir for the last two years, Kotadiya kept his vote confidential amid speculation that he had voted for the BJP, a move that has seemingly upset the Patidar movement, including its leader, Hardik Patel. Asked who he had voted, Kotadiya, 57, said, “I will not tell you that, but I will definitely tell you that I have voted in the interest of the Patidar community…. When I showed my vote to my election agent, Pradeepsinh Jadeja (Gujarat minister), his face turned bitter —- that’s all I can say.” While Kotadiya had initially indicated that he may vote for Ahmed Patel, his presence at a dinner for BJP legislators in Gandhinagar fanned speculation that he will go with the ruling party. Kotadiya, elected on a Gujarat Parivartan Party ticket before the party merged with BJP, also gave indication that he had got a whip from BJP. While Hardik Patel on Tuesday said that the community “did not expect Nalinbhai” to side with BJP, and that “we have decided that we will discontinue our association and never share the dais with him in any public meeting”, the MLA indicated on Facebook that he had voted against BJP.
Chhotu Vasava, (JD-U)MLA from Jhagadiya (Bharuch)
The only JD(U) MLA in Gujarat, the six-time legislator from Jhagadiya told The Indian Express that he voted for Ahmed Patel, and called it a “vote for safety of the country”. The only MLA who did not vote in the Presidential election — to protest apathy to protect rights of tribals — Vasava was miffed with Bihar Chief minister Nitish Kumar breaking the grand alliance and joining NDA, and is now said to be in the Sharad Yadav camp of the party. After casting his vote in Gandhinagar, Vasava said over the phone, “I kept in mind issues such as demonetisation, GST, safety and security of people from tribal, Dalit, Muslim and SC/ST communities….I think there is need for the present government to change.”
Kandhal Jadeja (NCP)MLA from Kutiyana (Porbandar)
While NCP leaders maintained that both their MLAs voted for Ahmed Patel — the Congress and NCP are UPA allies — Kandhal Jadeja declared that he voted for BJP. “I have voted for BJP. I will elaborate on it later,” he told The Indian Express when asked why he disregarded the party whip. Son of late Santokben Jadeja, known as the ‘Godmother’ of Porbandar and an MLA between 1990 and 1995 Kandhal, 44, contested his maiden election from Kutiyana in 2012 on an NCP ticket. He defeated then sitting MLA Karsan Odedra (BJP) by more than 18,000 votes. He faces at least 10 cases, and has been booked under Arms Act, TADA, Explosives Act, for rioting, forgery, Customs Act, resisting lawful custody, criminal intention to commit extortion, voluntarily causing hurt, criminal intimidation, etc. The latest case was filed in March 2015, when Kandhal and eight others were booked for rioting after one Nagesh Odedra allegedly rammed his car into that of the MLA in Porbandar town. Nagesh is son of Dheliben Odedra, then president of Kutiyana municipality.
Jayant Patel (NCP)MLA from Umreth (Anand)
At the polling station after casting his vote, Jayant told the media that his party is in the UPA. Soon after casting his vote, Jayant left the state, accompanying senior NCP leader Praful Patel on a tour and remained unavailable for a comment.