Even as the Congress is yet to announce its candidate for Bharuch Lok Sabha seat, tribal leader and Jhagadiya MLA Chhotu Vasava filed his nomination from the constituency on a Bhartiya Tribal party (BTP) ticket on Wednesday. Vasava, who had voted in favour of Congress treasurer Ahmed Patel during his closely-fought contest to the Rajya Sabha in 2017, ensuring his win, had hoped that the party would support his candidature from the Bharuch Lok Sabha seat on a BTP ticket.
The Congress was trying for an alliance with Vasava where in it had proposed he fight the Bharuch seat on the Congress symbol, to which he refused. Seeking support from the Congress for the Lok Sabha polls, Vasava, with his eldest son and BTP MLA from Dediyapada, Mahesh, had met Patel in Delhi a month ago, with a proposal that Congress should not put their candidate on Bharuch seat.
About the meeting, Vasava had said that Patel had proposed that BTP candidate should contest on the Congress symbol. “We have rejected this proposal and given him time to think over,” Vasava had said. Click here for more election news
On Wednesday, Vasava told The Indian Express that he had kept his part of the commitment to the friendship with the Congress during the last Rajya Sabha elections. “But, when their turn came, they had remained tight-lipped. We understood that they don’t want to support me, so I have decided to contest without the Congress. Our party is in power in two district panchayats with the Congress in Bharuch and Narmada and several other taluka Panchayats. We wanted that together, with the Congress we would stop the BJP from coming to power again, but it did not work out,” he said.
Vasava on Monday had announced that his party will field seven candidates in south Gujarat, including Bharuch. Finally on Wednesday, the senior and junior Vasava, with the party workers, took out a rally from Jhagadiya to file his nomination. Vasava claimed some “Congress workers” and people from minority community also joined the 10-kilometre rally.
About future relations with the Congress party, Vasava said his first target is to win he Bharuch seat, as tribal voters are in majority, followed by minorities.