Uphill task for BJP for Rajkot Lok Sabha seat
Even as the country has been witnessing the 'Modi magic' ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, scenario in the Rajkot seat seems different as factionalism in the BJP local unit may make a difficult task to put a united fight against sitting Congress MP Kuvarjibhai Bavaliya.
Sitting BJP MLA of Padadhari-Tankara constituency Mohanbhai Kundaria is Rajkot Lok Sabha nominee pitted against the Congress candidate.
Apparently keeping the caste factor in mind, the Congress fielded a candidate from the Koli community while the BJP selected Kadva Patel.
As per the official figures, with a population of two lakh, Kolis form the second largest community after the Leuva Patels (3.25 lakh) in Rajkot.
However, both the parties claimed that cast factor was not the main reason behind the selection of the candidates.
The BJP has been facing factionalism ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
Two recent incident in the BJP dented the image of the party.
In the first incident, Mr Kundaria had triggered a controversy by walking over students during a yoga camp in the city.
The incident came to light when a video clip showing Mr Kundaria walking on the backs of the students went viral.
In the second incident, a section of the BJP workers had locked the party's city unit office in Karanpara area in an anger over the decision of the party high command announcing Vallabhbhai Kathiriya and Shivlal Vakariya (former BJP MPs of Rajkot constituency) will help the already appointed observers in the election preparations.
This led to dissatisfaction among the BJP workers who closed the office even as a meeting was underway on Wednesday evening.
However, the BJP office started functioning from last evening as Minister of State for Water and Agriculture Govindbhai Patel claimed that there were no differences among the workers over the selection of candidate.
Speaking to UNI, Mr Patel claimed that Mr Kundaria would win with a big margin as the workers were ready to fight united to defeat the sitting Congress MP.
Gujarat will go to single phase polling on April 30 for 26 Lok Sabha seats.
In reply to a question, the Minister said water problems of the region would be solved within two years and said moreover, the small and medium units will come up after the implementation of the government's ambitious plan of filling surplus water of Narmada to 115 dams of Saurashtra region by 'Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation Yojna'.
When asked the BJP had lost the Rajkot Lok Sabha seat last time, Mr Patel quickly replied that the last time there had been some differences among Patel's, but this time Leua and Kadva Patel's are united and firmly with the BJP and, moreover, Mr Modi's wave will work for the party to win this seat.
The minister alleged that the people were fed up with the Congress due to 'large scale corruption' by the UPA Government at the Centre.
He further claimed that people were fed up with price hike under the UPA Government.
The Minister said Rajkot will soon become an auto-hub as the process for the same was underway.
He further said the other problems of the city such as expansion or shifting of the airport, double-track of rail lines between Rajkot-Surendranagar will take up with the concerned authorities soon for the speedy implementation.
Extensive tour by BJP candidate Mohanbhai Kundaria and party members in its segments indicated that people were with the BJP, he claimed.
Mr Bavaliya had a convincing victory against 'weak' BJP candidate Kiran Patel in 2009 but this time he faces Mr Kundaria, a leading industrialist and a Kadva Patel who has done good work for his constituency Padadhari and Tankara where his halt was very strong. Mr Bavaliya has a strong network in rural areas.
Congress MLA from Rajkot-l constituency Indranil Rajguru told UNI that Mr Modi has 'misguided' the people from the beginning as he had promised that he would solve the drinking water problem of Rajkot, but even after a decade, the problem was not yet resolved fully and people have to face the problem of water, particularly in summer.
Mr Rajguru said after Mr Modi became the Gujarat Chief
Minister, the law and order situation of the city deteriorated and the people were not safe in his regime.
In reply to a question, the Congress MLA said his party has taken several actions against the corrupt people whereas, the Gujarat Chief Minister has not taken any action against the tainted minister of his party such as Babubhai Bokharia.
He further alleged that in the Modi regime, there were large scale of corruption in the state and action was not taken against those involved in it.
"People of the remote and urban areas now realised that Modi did less for the region," the Congress MLA claimed.
Mr Rajguru said Mr Bavalia has taken up several issues during his tenure as an MP such as railways for the region, double-track of rail line between Rajkot and Surendranagar.
In reply to another question, he admitted that there was price hike under the Congress-led UPA government, but quickly added that it was global phenomenon and said where there was development, it was quite oblivious the price hike and the people were getting more remunerative prices and particularly farmers those who were producing the grains and other things.
The Congress MLA claimed that this time, too, Mr Bavalia will win from the Rajkot Lok Sabha seat.
Both the Congress and the BJP candidates would file their nomination papers on Monday.
There was a straight fight between the Congress and the BJP here.
However, Advocate Peenal Savaliya is the nominee for Rajkot Lok Sabha seat by the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), but she was little known to the people of Rajkot and has very little impact in the elections.
(Posted on 05-04-2014)