At Morbi, BJP gave ticket to former party MLA Kanti Amrutiya by denying ticket to sitting MLA Brijesh Merja. After Morbi’s bridge collapse tragedy in October in which 135 people died, BJP chose Amrutiya who had jumped into the Machchhu river to save people from drowning and this video had gone viral. In 2017, BJP lost all three seats in Morbi district, including Morbi town. Brijesh Merja who won this seat on Congress ticket in 2017 switched party in 2020 by resigning from the seat and contested by-election on BJP ticket and won. At Morbi, Congress has given ticket to Jayanti Patel who lost four elections on this seat.
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The political fight in Diamond polishing hub Katargam has become more interesting with AAP Gujarat chief Gopal Italia nominated from the seat. He is pitted against BJP minister Vinod Moradiya, a three-time municipal councillor. Both Italia and Moradiya belong to the Patidar community. However, the Congress has fielded Kalpesh Variya from the Prajapati community. Katargam was at the epicentre of the Patidar quota agitation in 2015. The constituency houses some of the biggest diamond cutting and polishing companies. AAP had made inroads into state politics from Surat when it won 27 seats in the 2021 civic body elections.
Rivaba Jadeja, wife of cricketer Ravindra Jajea, is contesting on BJP ticket from here. Her close rival is Bipendrasinh Jadeja from Congress. The seat is important because Rivaba herself is a celebrity and Ravindra held several roadshows in support of his wife. Rivaba’s sister-in-law, however, is a Congress worker and has campaigned against her and her (Rivaba’s) father-in-law has circulated a video message asking people to vote for Congress. In a new experiment, BJP had denied ticket to sitting MLA Dharmendrasinh Jadeja who is a Congress turncoat and had joined BJP before 2017 assembly election.
The chief ministerial face of AAP Ishudan Gadhvi is contesting from Khambhaliya that falls in Devbhumi Dwarka district. Gadhvi is a TV journalistturned-politician. His close contestants are Vikram Madam from Congress and BJP’s Mulu Bera. It is a question of survival for AAP to win this seat as party’s heavyweight is contesting from the seat. However, the voters’ caste formula does not go in favour of Gadhvi as majority of voters here belong to Madam’s Aahir community. Gadhvi, who claims Aahir community’s support, is raising the issue of new law for cow breeders as majority of voters are animal breeders and farmers.
Former leader of opposition in the state assembly, Paresh Dhanani, is seeking election for the third term from here. He won this seat in 2012 and 2017 on Congress ticket. BJP has given the ticket to Kaushik Vekariya who is contesting the first assembly election of his life. Amreli is important because in 2017 all the five seats in the district had gone to Congress. It is an agrarian district and youth of this district is settled in Surat’s diamond industry.
Industrialist Ramesh Tilara is contesting from BJP on this seat. He has declared his assets worth over Rs 157 crore. He is supported by Khodaldham, the apex religious body of Leuva Patel, and is contesting the first election of his life. His close contestant is Congress’s Hitesh Vora who is former president of Rajkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry. AAP has fielded Shivlal Barasia. There is a resentment among BJP workers who feel ticket to an ‘outsider’ may affect party’s prospects on this seat.
Parshottam Solanki, a five-time BJP MLA, is contesting for the 6th time from Bhavnagar Rural constituency. A strong Koli leader, Solanki is facing antiincumbency. He does meet people because of age-related health issues and also facing several other issues. On Bhavnagar West constituency, BJP’s heavyweight Jitu Vaghani is contesting the election for the third term.
The richest former MLA, Indranil Rajguru, is contesting from this seat on Congress ticket. He won this seat in 2012. BJP has roped in Uday Kangad, former mayor and former standing committee chairman of Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC), for the seat. They both are considered ‘Bahubali’ leaders.
The Majura seat in Surat is a bastion of the sitting minister of state for home Harsh Sanghavi, who has been vociferous against ‘love jihad,’ and instrumental in the success of PM’s roadshows and rallies in the city. He is contesting against Congress’s Balwant Jain. AAP has nominated former BJP leader PVS Sarma against Sanghavi. Sarma had a bitter fallout with BJP, the party he had joined over 15 years ago.