Two ‘bahubali netas’ (musclemen-turned-politicians) of the BJP from the Rajput community are fighting to get tickets for their sons from Gujarat’s Gondal Assembly constituency.
However, this fight has made the politicians in the Rajkot district worry about the political tug of war between the two bahubalis that can disturb the social fabric which was settled after a long struggle.
BJP’s former MLA Jayrajsinh Jadeja wishes the party nominates his son Ganeshsinh this time, instead of his wife Gayatriba, who is the sitting MLA from the Gondal seat. Whereas Anirudhsinh Jadeja, another bahubali wants the BJP to nominate either his son Rajdeepsinh or the candidate of his choice from the same seat.
Jayrajsinh Jadeja was convicted in Nilesh Rayani’s murder case of 2004 and Anirudhsinh Jadeja was convicted in Congress party’s sitting MLA Popatlal Sorathiya’s murder case of 1998. Political sources say that both are considered big power brokers, and unofficial arbitrators in land disputes.
The political war between the two Jadeja families broke out after Jayrajsinh defeated Anirudhsinh’s father Mahipatsinh Jadeja in the 1998 Assembly elections. Jayrajsinh had contested on a BJP ticket and Mahipatsinh was contesting as an independent candidate. Mahipatsinh was a two-term MLA from the constituency as an independent MLA in 1990 and 1995.
Jayrajsinh represented the seat from 1998, 2002 and 2012, in 2017 his wife Gayatriba got elected to the Assembly seat on the BJP symbol.
The Gondal Assembly constituency has a total 2,35,000 voters, one lakh Patidar voters, 10,000 Kshtriya Rajputs and the rest 1,20,000 of other communities.
“It becomes difficult for the local leaders, when two bahubalis are in race, but as a district BJP Committee, our job is simply to send a panel of aspiring candidates to the parliamentary board to finalise the candidate. But when a sensitive matter comes, then Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi take a call,” said Mansukh Khachariya, president of the Rajkot District BJP Committee.
“Both families are trying for the ticket of the BJP, if either fails to get a ticket and if the candidate has a good track record, for such candidates gates of Congress are always open,” said Arjun Khatariya, Rajkot District Congress Committee.