Three Muslim Cong candidates make it to Gujarat Assembly

AAP draws a blank in polls
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Agencies
Ahmedabad
19 Dec 2017

Three Muslim candidates fielded by the Congress emerged victorious in the Gujarat Assembly elections this time.

In 2012, two candidates from the minority community had made it to the Assembly on Congress' ticket. The Congress this time fielded five Muslim candidates, while the BJP did not nominate anyone from the community. The Rahul Gandhi-led party offered three urban seats-- Jamalpur-Khadia and Dariapur in Ahmedabad, and Surat-West-- to Muslim candidates. It won the two seats in Ahmedabad, while the BJP retained Surat-West.

The Opposition party also managed to retain Wankaner constituency in Rajkot district where its Muslim candidate Javid Peerzada defeated BJP's Jitendra Somani by 1,361 votes in a tightly-contested election. The Aam Aadmi Party, which contested the Gujarat polls for the first time, also fielded a Muslim candidate, Usman Gani Sherasiya, from the seat but he managed to get only 2,808 votes. The Congress' sitting MLA from Dariapur, Gyasuddin Sheikh, succeeded in retaining the Muslim-dominated seat in Ahmedabad city, defeating BJP's Bharat Barot by 6,187 votes.

The Janata Dal (United), which contested independently this time, unlike in 2012 when it was in alliance with the Congress, also fielded a Muslim candidate in Dariapur, but he received only 82 votes, as per figures of the Election Commission. The Congress succeeded in wresting Jamalpur-Khadia seat from the BJP. The Opposition party's candidate, Imran Khedawala, who contested for the first time, defeated BJP's sitting MLA Bhushan Bhatt by a big margin of over 29,000 votes. Bhatt had in 2012 defeated Congress' Samir Sipai.

The Aam Aadmi Party, which contested the Gujarat Assembly polls for the first time, came a cropper, with all the 27 candidates put up by it losing their deposits. Of the 27 seats that the AAP contested, it lost 14 to the Congress and the rest 13 to the BJP. In Botad constituency, where BJP's former minister Saurabh Patel won after a tight battle with Congress' Dhiraj Kalathiya, the AAP nominee, Jilu Bavaliya, came 16th among 25 candidates in the fray, securing only 361 votes.

Bavaliya stood far behind several independent candidates contesting in the seat. In Jamnagar (Rural), AAP candidate Paresh Bhanderi came 12th with 321 votes while Congress' Vallabh Dharaviya won the seat with 70,750 votes, as per figures of the Election Commission. In Dhoraji seat also, where 25 candidates were in the fray, AAP nominee Hardik Vachhani stood a distant 12th. Congress' Lalit Vasoya, a Patidar leader who was associated with quota agitation spearhead Hardik Patel, won the seat.