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Jasdan Bypoll Result: BJP's Kunvarji Bavalia Defeats Congress Debutant and Protégé Avsar Nakiya

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.

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Updated:December 23, 2018, 12:02 PM IST
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Jasdan Bypoll Result: BJP's Kunvarji Bavalia Defeats Congress Debutant and Protégé Avsar Nakiya
File photo of BJP candidate Kunvarji Bavalia
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Ahmedabad: BJP's Kunvarji Bavalia won the high-voltage Jasdan Assembly bypoll in Gujarat on Sunday, defeating Congress candidate and protégé Avsar Nakiya by more than 19,000 votes.

Stakes were high for both the BJP and the Congress. Kunvarji Bavaliya’s win is likely to reinforce the political acumen of BJP president Amit Shah, who personally supervised the crossing over of OBC strongman Bavaliya into the party.

The bypoll also became a battle of prestige between the BJP and the Congress in the wake of the latter winning the just-held assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

Bavaliya is an influential leader of the Koli community from the area. Nakiya, a Rajkot district panchayat member who had once worked closely with Bavaliya, who is a five-time MLA, and contested the assembly election for first time.

Bavaliya had won the seat on Congress ticket in 1995, 1998, 2002, 2007 and 2017. Since the formation of Gujarat in 1960, the BJP has won this seat only once — in the by-election held in 2009 when Bavaliya vacated the seat after being elected to Lok Sabha from Rajkot.

The bypoll, held on December 20, was not without its share of problems. In a glaring lapse of duty on the part of officials manning a polling centre, a BJP worker posted pictures of himself voting. He clicked pictures with his finger on the EVM button showing Kunvarji Bavaliya’s name and the lotus symbol and posted the photo in a WhatsApp group called “BJP Jasdan 72”.

The photos soon became viral and were telecast by regional news channels, following which a probe was ordered.

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.
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