Gujarat polls: Most Congress turncoats win on BJP ticket

  • | Friday | 9th December, 2022

Ahmedabad, Dec 9 (PTI) Most former Congress leaders who switched over to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) managed to win in the 2022 Gujarat Assembly elections.Besides former Congress working president Hardik Patel, the BJP had fielded 12 former Congress MLAs along with the son of a former Congress legislator.Of these 14, all but three won the election on Thursday.In at least three cases, their direct challengers were candidates of the new entrant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and those from the Congress.In some cases, their victory was aided by a split in votes between the AAP and Congress, data provided by the Election Commission shows.Harshad Ribadiya, a former Congressman who joined the BJP, was defeated by AAP"s Bhupendra Bhayani in Visavadar.Jawahar Chavda, who had resigned as Congress MLA in March 2019 and won the subsequent byelection on BJP ticket, was defeated on his home turf of Manavadar by Congress"s Arvind Ladani by around 3,000 votes.But these were exceptions.Otherwise, former Patidar agitation leader Hardik Patel won from Viramgam as a BJP candidate. Patel defeated AAP"s Amarsinh Thakor by more than 51,000 votes. Koli leader Kunvarji Bavaliya won from Jasdan seat which he had retained in the byelection after resigning from Congress in July 2018.Bavaliya, on the other hand, defeated his nearest AAP rival Tejas Gajipara by a slim margin of more than 1,000 votes.Raghavji Patel retained his Jamnagar (Rural) seat by defeating the AAP"s Prakash Donga.Rajendrasinh Rathva, who contested on the BJP ticket from the constituency of his father Mohansinh Rathva after the father-son duo resigned from Congress to join the ruling party, defeated Congress"s Sangramsinh Rathwa by 29,000 votes.Former Congress MLA from Abdasa, Pradyumansinh Jadeja, who had quit the party in 2020 to join BJP and won the ensuing byelection, was re-elected as BJP candidate. He defeated Congress"s Jat Mamad Jung by a margin of over 9,000 votes.Another turncoat Jitu Chaudhary won Kaprada seat by defeating his nearest rival from Congress, Vasant Patel by 32,000 votes.Alpesh Thakor, who had resigned as Congress MLA from Radhanpur seat in 2019 but was defeated in the byelection, managed to win from Gandhinagar South this time by a comfortable margin of more than 33,000 votes.Among other turncoats, Akshay Patel retained Karjan seat which he had also won in the 2020 byelection after resigning from Congress.C K Raulji retained Godhra seat. Raulji had quit the Congress before the 2017 Assembly elections and won Godhra on BJP ticket.Similarly, Bhaga Barad won from Talala and J V Kakadiya from Dhari.Kakadiya, re-elected in 2020 byelection after resigning from Congress, retained the seat by defeating AAP"s Shambhu Satasiya by around 9,000 votes.Among Congress turncoats who were rejected by the electorate were Harshad Ribadiya who lost to the AAP"s Bhupendra Bhayani, and Ashvin Kotwal who was defeated by veteran tribal Congress leader Tushar Chaudhary in Khedbrahma.Kotwal had joined the BJP after resigning as Congress MLA in May this year and the seat was vacant.Former Congress MLA Manilal Vaghela had been replaced by Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani in Vadgam seat in 2017. Vaghela was fielded from another seat then, but lost.After he joined the BJP, the ruling party fielded him against Mevani from Vadgam in 2022, but Vaghela lost this time too. PTI KA PD KRK KRK

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