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3-min read

Gujarat: Jasdan Assembly Bypoll to Test BJP's Strength in Congress Bastion Ahead of 2019

Brisk voting was witnessed in most of the 262 polling booths of the constituency since morning. A total of 2.62 lakh voters have been registered in the Jasdan Assembly constituency.

Meghdoot Sharon | CNN-News18

Updated:December 20, 2018, 6:38 PM IST
Gujarat: Jasdan Assembly Bypoll to Test BJP's Strength in Congress Bastion Ahead of 2019
BJP party flags.
Ahmedabad: The stakes are high for both the BJP as well as the Congress. If Kunvarji Bavaliya wins again from the Jasdan seat on a BJP ticket, it will reinforce the political acumen of BJP president Amit Shah, who personally supervised the crossing over of OBC strongman Bavaliya into the party.

On the other hand, if Bavaliya is defeated, not only will he forfeit his ministerial berth, it will establish the fact that Jasdan has been a Congress bastion and not a Kunvarji Bavaliya bastion.

Brisk voting was witnessed in most of the 262 polling booths of the constituency since morning. A total of 2.62 lakh voters have been registered in the Jasdan Assembly constituency.

While Bavaliya cast his vote at Vinchhiya polling booth, Nakiya voted at the Asalpur polling centre in Jasdan taluka of Rajkot district.

Both, Bavaliya as well as Avchar Nakiya claimed victory on Thursday. “My victory is definite. A very large number of my supporters crossed over to the BJP along with me. Several leaders of the Congress party have also been in touch with me as we have worked together for a long time. The BJP will comfortably win the Jasdan seat,” Bavaliya told the media after casting his vote.

Avsar Nakiya meanwhile said that there is widespread anger among people, especially farmers, against the BJP.

“People had voted for Bavaliya because he was a Congress candidate. He has switched over to the BJP for his personal gain. The people will teach him a befitting lesson,” Nakiya said.

Meanwhile, the bypoll was not without its share of problems. The Election Commission received as many as 26 complaints on Thursday, most of which were sorted out. However, in one instance, a glaring lapse of duty on the part of officials manning a polling centre, was noticed. A BJP worker posted pictures of himself voting. He clicked pictures with his finger on the button showing Kunvarji Bavaliya’s name and the lotus symbol and posted in a WhatsApp group called “BJP Jasdan 72”.

The photos soon became viral and were telecast by regional news channels.

“We have taken cognizance of the photos and I have directed the returning officer to file a report in the matter. Action will be taken against those responsible for the lapse of duty,” state chief election officer S Murlikrishna said.

Carrying electronic devises like mobile phones or camera is prohibited inside polling booths. Among other complaint, there were problems of EVMs not working a five or six places. Political parties also filed complaints against leaders of each other’s parties for making unauthorized entry into polling centres. The Congress even circulated an audio message of Bavaliya allegedly threatening a Congress worker, a charge that was dismissed by the BJP.

Among other instances, Rutvik Makwana, Congress MLA from Chotila and his supporters were detained by the police in Sangrampur village of the constituency. They allegedly entered into polling centres without the necessary permission. Later, Congress strongman Virji Thummar sat on a dharna with his supporters, alleging that the police were not acting on complaints of irregularities filed against BJP leaders.

Kunvarji Mohanbhai Bavaliya, 63, is an OBC strongman from Saurashtra, who has won the assembly elections five times on a Congress ticket. He first won the assembly election on a Congress ticket way back in 1995. Bavaliya also won the Lok Sabha seat once. He was appointed minister in the Vijay Rupani government within three hours of him tendering his resignation as Congress MLA. His opponent, 47-year-old Avsar Nakiya has been his disciple for over 20 years. Nakiya was a close associate of Bavaliya and many thought he would cross over to the BJP, when Bavaliya quit the Congress earlier this year. He has held several positions in the Rajkot district unit of the Congress party in the past two decades.

(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
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