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After Initial Scare, BJP Retains All Four Seats in Prestige City of Rajkot

Rajkot district, the financial hub of the Saurashtra region, is said to hold the key to entire Gujarat. The district alone has eight assembly constituencies and of these eight seats, Rajkot West is perhaps the most high-profile seat.

Aishwarya Kumar | News18.com@aishwaryak03

Updated:December 18, 2017, 11:33 AM IST
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After Initial Scare, BJP Retains All Four Seats in Prestige City of Rajkot
Rajkot district, the financial hub of the Saurashtra region, is said to hold the key to entire Gujarat. The district alone has eight assembly constituencies and of these eight seats, Rajkot West is perhaps the most high-profile seat.

New Delhi: The largest constituency in the Saurashtra region, Rajkot has often been considered BJP's safest seat. There was, however, a short span of time earlier on Monday when BJP's bastion was challenged. During early trends, Congress's candidate Indraneel Rajyaguru, a Brahmin, was ahead of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in Rajkot West. The seat has been held by the BJP since 1985, and Rajyaguru had managed to give the ruling party a scare. The trends slowly swung in Rupani's direction as the CM is now leading, but by less than 4,000 votes.

With its candidate Arvind Raiyani, the BJP is also leading in Rajkot East, a seat that the Congress won in 2012. Rajkot South and Rural too share the same story, with BJP leading with its candidates Govindbhai Patel and Lakhabhai Sagathiya respectively.

Rajkot district, the financial hub of the Saurashtra region, is said to hold the key to the entire state. The district alone has eight assembly constituencies. Of these eight seats, Rajkot West is perhaps the most high-profile seat.

The last time Congress won this seat was back in the year 1980, when Manibhai Ranpara won after polling 19,755 votes. BJP leader Vajubhai Vala was not so far behind with 17,762 votes. In the 1984 elections, Vala finally won the seat by beating Congress candidate Harshdaba Chudasa. Vala remained the MLA from Rajkot West till 2002, when he vacated the seat for BJP’s CM-designate Narendra Modi. The future Prime Minister won the election from Rajkot West after polling 45,298 votes. His opponent, Congress leader Ashwini Maheta polled 30,570 votes in the bypoll.

For the 2002 Assembly polls, Modi moved to contest from the Maninagar seat and Vajubhai Vala was back to contesting from Rajkot West. He won the seat three more times in 2002, 2007 and 2012 and even served as the Finance Minister of Gujarat under Modi.

When the BJP formed the government at the Centre in 2014 and Modi finally ascended the high seat in Delhi, Vala was rewarded for keeping the BJP fortress intact and was made the Governor of Karnataka. In the 2014 bypoll, the seat then passed on to Vijay Rupani, who won with 81,092 votes. He beat his Congress opponent Jayanti Kalriya, a Patidar, by over 23,000 votes. In August 2016, when CM Anandiben Patel resigned, Rupani was elevated to CM.

There are around 3 lakh registered voters in Rajkot West. There are around 42,000 Kadwa Patels, 33,000 Leuva Patels, 25,000 Brahmins, 25,000 Lohanas, 22,000 minority voters, 20,000 Baniyas and 10,000 Kshatriyas in the electorate.

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| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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