Gujarat Assembly elections: A Congress seat likely to see disruption in vote distribution

The Indian Express | 1 week ago | 24-11-2022 | 02:35 pm

Gujarat Assembly elections: A Congress seat likely to see disruption in vote distribution

Danilimda, a reserved Scheduled Caste constituency in Ahmedabad city, that was carved out following the 2008 delimitation order, has effectively seen two assembly elections — in 2012 and 2017.In both these elections, Congress veteran Shailesh Parmar won the seat by a comfortable margin — over 14,000 votes in 2012 and 32,000 votes in 2017.This time Parmer is contesting for a third term, but the constituency is expected to see a disruption in vote distribution as besides BJP, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) have fielded its candidates.AIMIM has fielded a Dalit candidate, Kaushika Parmar, who runs a beauty parlour and AAP has fielded Dinesh Kapadia, a retired engineer at the Gujarat Electricity Board (GEB).Notably, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi had skipped a scheduled campaign address on November 12.  While the party’s Gujarat head had attributed it to a “backache”, some other members in the party had cited a “lacklustre turnout” for Owaisi’s decision to skip the public address.Kaushika’s public rally had several seats empty and an unenthused crowd. Kaushika has also been forced to take a hiatus from campaign schedule after she suffered a heart attack on November 20. Discharged on November 23, she is yet to resume campaigning.Meanwhile, BJP, which has fielded Naresh Vyas, had to shut its “madhyastha karyalaya”, the party’s temporary election office, earlier this week after it was verbally notified by election officials that the set-up violated the Model Code of Conduct, as it had been set up within 200 metres distance of a polling station.Vyas, who was elected as a BJP councillor in the 2005 Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation elections, says, “We were not asked to shut it, we did it of our volition as we felt this is wrong… When it (the office) was being set up, I knew this is in violation of MCC and I had informed the BJP karyakartas of the same. Lekin karyakartaon ko bhi naaraaz nahi karna chahte the (At the same time, we did not want to displease the BJP workers), so they went ahead with setting up the office.”Vyas is quick to add that the party’s work won’t be affected in the constituency due to a lack of an office. “I have had an operational office opposite Dr Ambedkar Hall since 2005 and that will be the office now.”A Muslim and Dalit dominant constituency where of the estimated 2.60 lakh voters this year, approximately one lakh are Muslim voters another 90,000 are Dalits, Danilimda, in the past two Assembly elections, has seen voter turnout at around 67-68 per cent.BJP candidates have not managed to poll more than 60,000 votes in both these elections. Congress, on the other hand, apart from winning the Assembly polls, has also proven its stronghold over the constituency in the AMC polls in 2021, managing to win all four wards of Danilimda.One of the pressing issues in the constituency is that of Chandola lake, which has around 5,000 families residing around it, most of them Muslims.Owaisi, in his campaign trails in Ahmedabad, has often raised the issue of underdevelopment in the area with a lack of basic amenities, in a bid to attack Congress.Leader of Opposition at AMC, Congress Shehzadkhan Pathan too has sent legal notices to AMC officials, seeking basic amenities in the area, after repeated representations by him found no response.BJP’s Vyas on the other hand envisions Chandola lake developed in a way similar to Kankaria Lake, and refrains from commenting on the complaints from residents living around the area on lack of basic amenities like drinking water, electricity and drainage.Eight candidates had contested the Assembly election of 2012 and six in 2017, with all but two in both years forfeiting their deposit.This election, there are 12 contesting candidates, which also include a former Congress councillor from Danilimda Jamnaben Vegda, contesting as an independent.Vegda was suspended by the party in February this year after an audio clip of her surfaced in which she can be allegedly heard asking a woman to use black magic against LOP and Congress corporator Shehzadkhan Pathan and MLA Shailesh Parmar.

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Police stations in city wear deserted look amid polls
Ahmedabad Mirror | 6 hours ago | 02-12-2022 | 02:04 am
Ahmedabad Mirror
6 hours ago | 02-12-2022 | 02:04 am

There’s a popular perception that election time makes politicians the busiest lot. Going by the deserted looks of police stations across Ahmedabad, in reality, however, it is not politicians but cops who are the busiest during elections.Senior police officials told Mirror that Ahmedabad city police has a sanctioned strength of 15,500 police personnel. However it is running short by about 3,000 with a headcount of only 12,500. Out of existing strength, 5,000 are on first-phase poll duty. All DCPs and ACPs, along with their staff, are deployed for the roadshows.During Mirror Check at some city police stations, only two to four cops were found present while the rest were on election duty.Satellite is one of the busiest police stations of Ahmedabad but it was completely deserted on Thursday. A Head Constable present at the police station said, “We have only two police personnel present in the station. All others are deployed on poll duty, either in the city or in the first phase of voting in Saurashtra, South Gujarat and Kutch.”Mirror came across 24-year-old Kansinh Chauhan who was told that his police verification will be done only after December 8. He told Mirror, “I have to buy a bike. The dealer wants a police verification certificate as I am from Rajasthan. Police are telling me to come after December 8. I also applied for a verification certificate online eight days ago but there has been no reply. What should I do?”Vastrapur and Anandnagar police stations had the same story to tell. There were only four policemen inside the police stations, everybody else was on poll duty.Even traffic police are facing the same issue. A senior traffic police official told Mirror that 80% of the staff has been deployed on poll duty. Another 600 have been deployed in the road shows by different political parties.“We are managing traffic junctions with police recruits under training and some TRD jawans,” the official said.

Police stations in city wear deserted look amid polls
PM Modi conducts 30-km long roadshow in Ahmedabad, holds rallies, asks Gujarat voters to punish Cong after `Ravan’ jibe
The Indian Express | 7 hours ago | 02-12-2022 | 12:35 am
The Indian Express
7 hours ago | 02-12-2022 | 12:35 am

In a whirlwind campaign tour in his home state Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday took part in a more than 30-km-long roadshow here and addressed three rallies while asking people to teach a lesson to the Congress in the Assembly elections following its “Ravan” jibe for him.Addressing a rally at Kalol in Panchmahal district, Modi said he respected Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, but it was the opposition party’s “high command” which compelled Kharge to use such jibes.Voting for the first phase of Gujarat Assembly elections in 89 seats was held on Thursday, while that in the remaining 93 seats including 16 of Ahmedabad city will take place on December 5.Kharge, at a rally in Ahmedabad city on Monday, had said the prime minister asks people to vote “looking at his face” in all elections. “Are you 100-headed like Ravan,” he had said.On Thursday, Modi said, “I respect Kharge ji, but he has to follow orders of the party high command. He was compelled to say that Modi has 100 heads like (demon king) Ravan.” “But the Congress did not realise that Gujarat is the land of Ram Bhakts. Those who never believed in the existence of Lord Ram, have now brought in Ravan from Ramayana just to abuse me,” the PM said.Congress leaders never apologise over such insults but think it is their right to use abusive language for the country’s prime minister, he added.“For them, that family is everything. They will do anything to make the family happy. There is a competition among Congress leaders as to who will use the most abusive and most toxic slurs for Modi,” he said, apparently referring to the Gandhi family.“There is only one way to teach them a lesson. Vote for the BJP on December 5 by pushing a button near lotus,” Modi said.At a rally at Bodeli town in Chhota Udepur district, the PM said despite the Congress’ ‘Garibi Hatao’ slogan, poverty actually increased under its rule.“For decades, Congress has been saying only one thing – Garibi Hatao (eliminate poverty)…The only thing they did was to raise slogans, make promises and misguide people. That was the reason why poverty actually increased during its regime,” Modi said.The poor, tribals and Other Backward Class (OBC) communities were not given priority in education, health and industrial sector by Congress governments, he said.The opposition party also did not support a tribal woman becoming the country’s President, and hence it fielded a candidate against Droupadi Murmu in the presidential election earlier this year, Modi claimed.Speaking at his last rally in Himmatnagar town in Sabarkantha district, he asked people not to repeat the “mistake” committed after Independence.“This election is not just about forming a government here for five years. The country has completed 75 years of Independence. You must keep in mind where India will be 25 years from now. This election is all about making a government which would strengthen the foundation of the country for the next 25 years,” Modi said.“Everyone says that India would have been moving in a different direction had Sardar Patel been the country’s first prime minister. We have already begun the course correction and have put the country in the right direction with so much hard work. Therefore, we cannot afford to commit the same mistake that was committed at the time of India’s Independence,” he added.In the evening, Modi took part in a more than 30-km-long roadshow in Ahmedabad city, starting from Naroda village.A large number of people standing on both sides of the route greeted the PM during the roadshow which began around 5.20 pm.Standing in a specially-designed vehicle, the prime minister waved at the crowd.The roadshow was to pass through the eastern part of Ahmedabad and end at IOC circle in the Chandkheda area on the city’s western side, covering 13 constituencies in Ahmedabad city as well as Gandhinagar-South.

PM Modi conducts 30-km long roadshow in Ahmedabad, holds rallies, asks Gujarat voters to punish Cong after `Ravan’ jibe
Gujarat Phase 1 vote today: BJP faces Saurashtra test; AAP, Congress stand in way of bid to regain lost ground
The Indian Express | 20 hours ago | 01-12-2022 | 11:35 am
The Indian Express
20 hours ago | 01-12-2022 | 11:35 am

A little over a year after it changed the entire Gujarat Cabinet, the BJP will go to polls in the first phase of the Assembly elections on Thursday as it attempts to return to power for the sixth straight term.Around 2.39 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to elect MLAs in 89 constituencies in Saurashtra, Kutch, and south Gujarat, with the BJP looking to regain the ground it lost in Saurashtra in the 2017 Assembly elections. For the ruling party, the main competition will come from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress. The electoral contest between the BJP and the Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit will be especially intense in Surat. Both camps aggressively campaigned against each other in an attempt to bag the 12 seats in the city.In 2017, of the 89 constituencies, the BJP won 48 and the Congress bagged 38 seats. Two seats went to the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), which was in alliance with the Congress at the time, and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) won one.In Saurashtra, the agrarian region with 48 seats, the challenge for the BJP is to increase its tally from the 19 constituencies it managed to win last time, while the Congress will look to hold on to the gains it made five years ago and build on their success. The Congress’s seat count of 28 in Saurashtra in 2017 was a gain of 13 seats, while the BJP’s tally came down by 11 seats. It was the ruling party’s worst performance in Saurashtra since 1995 when it formed the government in Gujarat for the first time.But in the last five years, 10 Congress MLAs from Saurashtra defected to the BJP or extended support to the ruling party. They are Kunvarji Bavaliya (Jasdan), Parsottam Sabariya (Dhrangadhra), Jawahar Chavda (Manavadar), Vallabh Dharaviya (Jamnagar Rural), Pravin Maru (Gadhada), JV Kakadiya (Dhari), Soma Ganda Patel (Limbdi), Brijesh Merja (Morbi), Bhagwan Barad (Talala), and Harshad Ribadiya (Visavadar). Save Sabariya, Dharaviya, Maru, Patel, and Merja, the others are BJP candidates this time from their respective seats.The Congress’s Saurashtra performance in 2017 was propelled by support from the Patidar community, which had been traditional BJP supporters since the mid-1980s. But the community drifted towards the Congress five years ago following protests against the BJP-led government over demands for Other Backward Class (OBC) status. The quota agitation stir’s leader Hardik Patel is the BJP candidate from Viramgam in Ahmedabad district this time. Pointing out that the quota agitation has long fizzled out, BJP leaders have claimed that Patidars will back the ruling party this time around.The first phase covers several Patidar and tribal-dominated seats and will be crucial for the ruling party’s stated objective of breaking all Assembly election records. Among the BJP’s objectives is winning most of the 27 constituencies reserved for Scheduled Tribes (STs). In Phase 1, seven of the constituencies at stake are reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) communities and 17 are ST seats.For the BJP, a stumbling block in the run-up to the elections was ticket distribution. In the first phase, seven BJP members filed nominations against the party’s candidates, most of them as Independents and one each as Congress and AAP nominees.Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leading the BJP’s campaign and has addressed 25 public meetings since November 3, when the Elections Commission notified the poll schedule. Union Home Minister Amit Shah has been the second-most prominent face to campaign for the party. The party has also deployed a battery of national leaders such as chief ministers Yogi Adityanath, Himanta Biswa Sarma, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, and Pramod Sawant, Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and its national president JP Nadda.The BJP aggressively played up the Hindutva card by raking up issues such as the 2002 riots, terrorism, “love jihad”, and the Shraddha Walkar murder case. In its poll manifesto, the ruling party promised an anti-radicalisation cell and the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code.The AAP ran an aggressive campaign, especially in Saurashtra and south Gujarat. The electoral plank of the Kejriwal-led party is based on its guarantees such as free education, free electricity, employment, and free religious pilgrimages for the elderly.On Wednesday, Kejriwal issued a video message requesting the people of Gujarat to opt for change. Speaking in Gujarati Kejriwal, who began with the common greeting in Gujarat, “Jai Shri Krishna”, said, “Twenty-seven years are a lot, no? This time try to change. Change is the rule of life. Even trees change their leaves every year. Give AAP one chance. I will never break your trust. Now, the atmosphere is also changing, cold is also increasing. Take care of everyone in the family. Jai Shree Krishna!”The Congress too has promised voters things such as free electricity, implementation of the old pension scheme, and jobs. Its campaign, however, was low-key, with some of its top national leaders largely staying away from the campaign.In six assembly constituencies, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) led by Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi has fielded candidates. These seats are Mangrol, Khambhalia, Bhuj, Mandvi, Surat East, and Limbayat.Notable names in the frayThere are a total of 788 candidates in the fray in Phase 1, including 718 men and 70 women. Some of the notable BJP candidates who will be battling it out on Thursday are Kanti Amrutiya (Morbi), Kunvarji Bavaliya (Jasdan), Jayesh Radadiya (Jetpur), Rivaba Jadeja (Jamnagar North), Pabubha Manek (Dwarka), Babu Bokhiriya (Porbandar), Parshottam Solanki, Mukesh Patel (Olpad), Harsh Sanghavi (Majura), Jitu Vaghani (Bhavnagar West), and Raghavji Patel (Jamnagar Rural).The first phase will also see the fate of some top AAP leaders being decided. Among them are its CM face Isudan Gadhvi (Khambhalia), state president Gopal Italia (Katargam), and former Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leaders Alpesh Kathiriya (Varachha) and Dharmik Malaviya (Olpad).From the Congress, leaders such as Naushad Solanki (Dasada), Lalit Kagathara (Tankara), Indranil Rajyaguru (Rajkot East), Vikram Madam (Khambhalia), Arjun Modhwadiya (Porbandar), Punja Vansh (Una), Paresh Dhanani, Virji Thummar (Lathi), Ambarish Der (Rajula), Kanu Kalsariya (Mahuva), and Anant Patel (Vansda) will be contesting in the first phase.New initiativesThis is the first election where a section of the electorate will have a chance to vote from home. This facility has been made available to 9.87 lakh voters above the age of 80 years and 4.03 lakh voters with disabilities. The Election Commission (EC) distributed around eight lakh forms for voters to avail of this facility but only over two per cent of voters have opted for it.The other initiative is monitoring workers in industries if they have cast their votes or not. The EC has already signed MoUs with various industrial associations for this and asked them to give a holiday or a break to workers on polling day.“We have already conveyed the message to our sister associations for giving workers a break or holiday for polling. Though we cannot force workers to vote, all industrial units have also been asked to monitor the number of workers and share whatever figures possible with us so that we have at least an estimate,” said Pathik Patwari, president of the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI).This is also the first election in the state where details of criminal cases faced by candidates needed to be published in newspapers.With inputs from Avinash Nair and Rashi Mishra in Ahmedabad

Gujarat Phase 1 vote today: BJP faces Saurashtra test; AAP, Congress stand in way of bid to regain lost ground
This jumbo Guj family stays, votes together
Times of India | 21 hours ago | 01-12-2022 | 10:38 am
Times of India
21 hours ago | 01-12-2022 | 10:38 am

SURAT: At a time when disputes between siblings or between a father and a child have become a common occurrence, this family of 81 members is a unique example of unity, harmony and bonding. More importantly, their zeal to exercise their franchise together. The Solanki family in Kamrej wants to give a message how important it is to participate in the election process. The eldest voter in the family is 82-year-old Shamjibhai and the youngest ones are 18-year-old Parth and Vedant who are first-time voters. Live updates: Gujarat assembly elections phase 1The Solanki family will go to Navagam polling booth in multiple vehicles to cast their votes on Thursday. Of the 81 members, 60 are registered voters. "At the age of 82, my father is very enthusiastic about voting and inspires us all to vote," said Nandlal, son of Shamjibhai. 'We want to encourage others to take part in polls' We jointly participate in voting with enthusiasm the way we participate in a marriage function in the family. Through this, we want to encourage others to participate in elections," said Ghanshyam, one of the 17 brothers. In 1985, one of six brothers, Lalji Solanki, a blacksmith by profession from Lakhiyani of Botad, came to the city and settled in Kamrej. He, along with his brothers, started making agricultural equipment and gradually the family grew. Currently, the family's size is 96 of whom 15 live in a village while 81 live in Kamrej. "We now run a manufacturing unit of farming equipment and have developed a brand called Jyoti. The family jointly runs the business," said Pradip, a brother. Read AlsoGujarat election campaigns: PM Narendra Modi, Arvind Kejriwal carpet-bomb, cameo from Rahul GandhiAs the implacable hostilities of campaigning for the first phase of Gujarat election ended on Tuesday, the analysis of star campaigners indicated the BJP and the AAP relied on their most known faces — PM Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal. PM Modi helmed 23 rallies and roadshows, and Kejriwal 19."Most of the members live in a joint family, and it has its advantages. We share responsibilities hence everyone gets some free time," said Nirali, a woman from the family. The home they live in has a huge hall that allows them to assemble in one place for family functions. As the family is growing, they are facing space issues when a son gets married. Read AlsoGujarat polls 2022: Fertile for Congress; BJP vote machine aims to pluck seatsThe candidates in South Gujarat did not just fear the backlash from angry villagers when they visited tribal areas. What scared them more were the mobile phones that tech-savvy tribals wielded with great efficacy to scuttle campaigning."The majority of the members live in the same home where they grew up while young members are going to live in separate houses after marriage,'' said Ghanshyam. "The family unanimously decided to vote together to make a strong nation. We will not go by caste or any other illusions," said Bhavesh, another brother.

This jumbo Guj family stays, votes together