After some tribal leaders left the Congress, the party has now put all its focus to maintain its hold in the Khedbrahma Assembly seat in Sabarkantha district and Aravalli district’s Bhiloda constituency.
The tribals in Gujarat have been the traditional voters of the Congress for decades together.
Khedbrahma sitting Congress MLA Ashwin Kotwal recently resigned as MLA and joined the BJP. Bhiloda’s sitting MLA Dr. Anil Joshiyara died because of corona and his son Keval recently joined the BJP. Both these Assembly seats fall under Sabarkantha Lok Sabha seat.
To protect its forte, the Congress is working hard in both constituencies, and the party is confident of winning both seats, said Madhusudan Mistry, former MP from Sabarkantha constituency.
“The BJP has done little for the tribals in the area. Development has not reached these pockets, why would people vote for the party that discriminates against voters,” said Mistry to the local media.
“The local tribals will give befitting answers to Ashwin Kotwal on Khedbrahma constituency, for betraying their trust,” said Tushar Chaudhary, former Union Minister of State for Tribal Development. His father, former Chief Minister Amarsinh Chaudhary had twice won from the Khedbrahma seat — in 1995 and 1998 — after he lost the elections from his traditional Vyara seat of Surat district in 1990.
Disputing the Congress leaders’ claim, BJP’s Aravalli District Committee’s president Rajendrakumar Patel said, “Congress can’t beat BJP’s organisation, party has formed 45,000 electoral page committees in Bhiloda constituency, party has already given training to polling agents and booth committees.”
Citing the analysis of the Assemblywise performance during the 2019 Sabarkantha Lok Sabha elections results, Patel said, “The BJP candidate had a 12,000 vote margin on Khedbrahma Assembly seat, that will give advantage to the party candidate. Taluka panchayats are with the BJP, seven delegates for the district panchayat are of the BJP on this seat, enough reasons to show that the party is in a strong position.”
“It all depends, who is selected as the BJP candidate for the Bhiloda seat. Before that happens, it will be premature to say anything,” said Jayanti Patel, President of the Sabarkantha BJP district committee.
He said the party organisation is unmatched in the constituency and has an advantage over the political opponents. In the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, the party candidate had a margin of 20,000 in Bhiloda Assembly segment.
While the BJP is making claims of a strong performance in the tribal areas, the Congress is working hard to retain its traditional strongholds.