- Almost USD 30 million seized in raids linked to Malaysian ex-PM
- Samsung must pay Apple $539mn in patent lawsuit: US court
- HDK faces floor test today; expected to sail through
- Special NIA court convicts five IM militants in Bodh Gaya serial blasts case
- Two men detonate explosive device at Indian restaurant in Canada; 15 injured
Guj poll: CM Rupani may face stiff battle on BJP's 'safe' seat
The battle for Rajkot-West seat, the traditional BJP fortress, could be a cliffhanger for its high-profile contestant and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani who is facing a challenger in Congress' Indranil Rajyaguru.
Earlier known as Rajkot-II, the seat is considered as 'safe' for the saffron party which has been representing it since 1985.
The constituency goes to polls on December 9 in the first phase of the high-stakes Gujarat elections.
Vajubhai Vala, incumbent Governor of Karnataka, had won the seat seven times for the BJP - from 1985 to 2012. In 1985, he had defeated Harshadba Chudasama.
Vala vacated the seat for Narendra Modi in 2002 after the latter was then nominated as the chief minister. Later, when Modi moved to Maninagar constituency, Vala continued his undefeated run till 2012.
Later, after Vala was shifted to Karnataka, Vijay Rupani won the bypoll from the seat in 2014.
Though Rajkot-West is a stronghold of the RSS, the Congress has mounted a strong challenge by bringing in Rajyaguru, the sitting MLA from Rajkot-East, to rework the caste combination in the party's favour.
To retain his seat, Rupani has to surmount the angry Patidars as well as the trading community, which is smarting under the impact of demonetisation and rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Out of 3.15 lakh voters in the constituency, the number of Kadva and Leuva Patidars is the highest at 62,000, followed by Brahmins, Lohana and Jain communities.
The Congress is trying to direct the simmering anger among Patidars over lack of reservation in education and government jobs under the BJP rule against Rupani.
The quota agitation and Hardik Patel joining hands with Congress may dent the BJP's base among the Patidars, who till now were considered as the bedrock of the BJP's support base in Gujarat.
Congress nominee Rajyaguru, the richest candidate in Gujarat elections, believes that he has won the "initial battle" against Rupani by keeping him busy in the constituency since the poll schedule was announced.
"I wanted to keep the chief minister busy in Rajkot-West constituency and morally I have won the initial battle as the chief minister has to visit his constituency more than once in a week," Rajyaguru claimed.
However, Rupani has been unfazed and is confidant of his victory.
He earlier cited the work done by him for the people of the state as well as his constituency, especially bringing the Narmada river water to Rajkot.
Rupani had said that he was not facing any challenge in Rajkot West as it is a traditional bastion of the BJP.
"I will win the seat easily," he had told PTI in an interview recently.
BJP's Saurashtra and Kutch spokesperson Raju Dhruv said that Rupani has always been ready to solve the problems faced by the people of Rajkot or elsewhere in Gujarat.
"As the CM, he has done well and because of his tireless efforts, Rajkot could get the Narmada water in less than five years of the project announced by then chief minister Narendra Modiji," Dhruv said.
The 182-member Gujarat Assembly will go to the polls in two phases -- on December 9 and 14 -- and the counting of votes will be taken up on December 18.
- Congress's Ramesh Kumar elected Karnataka Assembly Speaker 25 May 2018 | PTI
- Gadkari advocates bringing fuel under GST 25 May 2018 | IANS
- Almost USD 30 million seized in raids linked to Malaysian ex-PM 25 May 2018 | AFP
- HDK faces floor test today; expected to sail through 25 May 2018 | PTI
- NIA court convicts five IM militants in 2013 Bodh Gaya blasts 25 May 2018 | PTI
- Two men detonate explosive device at Indian restaurant in Canada; 15 injured 25 May 2018 | PTI
- HDK to face floor test tomorrow; BJP throws gauntlet, fields Nominee for Speaker's post 24 May 2018 | PTI
- TN firing toll 13; Stalin, CM trade accusations on violence 24 May 2018 | PTI
- CS assault case: Sisodia to be quizzed tomorrow 24 May 2018 | PTI
- Centre working on long-term solution to fuel prices: Pradhan 24 May 2018 | IANS
Sunday EditionView All
20 May 2018 | PNS
New Delhi: “Now, let us enjoy our holidays,” this is how the Supreme Court concluded the hearing on the Karnataka power row on Saturday. The courtroom burst into a bout of laughter as Justice AK Sikri, who headed the three-judge Bench, made the jovial remark ...
STATE EDITIONSView All
25 May 2018 | Santosh Narayan | Ranchi
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Jharkhand visit on Friday sits with the Deputy Commissioners and officials of the 19 aspirational districts it would boost hope of speedy development of the areas that have been in the red zone. It is learnt that all the DCs concerned have been told to be ready with crisp presentations highlighting not only the good works done in their areas identified but also...