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Needmore seats to Win
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2-min read

Meet Indranil Rajyaguru, the Richest Candidate in Fray and Challenger to Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani

When the Congress declared its first list of 77 candidates on Sunday night, Rajyaguru’s name featured under Rajkot West.

Uday Singh Rana | News18.com@UdaySRana

Updated:November 21, 2017, 8:47 AM IST
Meet Indranil Rajyaguru, the Richest Candidate in Fray and Challenger to Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani
File photo of Indranil Rajyaguru. (Twitter)
New Delhi: Congress MLA Indranil Rajyaguru was all smiles after filing his nomination from Gujarat’s Assembly Constituency number 69 – Rajkot West. This will be his third election but this time, he will not contest from his stronghold of Rajkot East.

“I had said this earlier also. Wherever (Gujarat Chief Minister) Vijay Rupani goes, I will follow him. I had decided to contest against him long ago,” Rajyaguru declared.

When the Congress declared its first list of 77 candidates on Sunday night, Rajyaguru’s name featured under Rajkot West. The party high command had honored his request. In his election affidavit, Rajyaguru declared assets worth Rs 141 crore, making him the richest candidate to contest the Gujarat Assembly polls this year.

Rajyaguru was the richest candidate in 2012 also when he had declared Rs 123 crore. He owns several business establishments, including educational institutions, in and around the Rajkot area.

Rajkot West has been a prestige seat for the BJP. In 2002, Narendra Modi contested the first-ever election of his life from Rajkot West and won, before being anointed CM. This time, the BJP candidate is Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.

Rajkot had been a Congress stronghold. But in 1985, the newly-formed BJP wrested this seat from the Grand Old Party. Since then, the BJP has not lost here. However, this time, the Congress may be able to put up a fight on this seat owing to the Patidar agitation. Around 75,000 voters in Rajkot West are Patidars and there is uncertainty over which way they will swing.

The last time Congress won this seat was in 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.

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 Chief Minister Anandiben Patel resigned, Rupani was elevated to CM.

Rajyaguru’s task is to topple a sitting Chief Minister from what is considered a BJP fortress. While in other times the BJP would consider the Rajkot West contest a cakewalk, the Patidar factor is heating up the contest.

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. The Congress has fielded Rajyaguru, a Brahmin, to topple Rupani, a Jain. However, the deciding factor will be the 75,000 Patidar votes in the constituency.
(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)
| Edited by: Ananya Chakraborty
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