5 MLAs who trumped top guns to secure wins for AAP in Gujarat - Hindustan Times
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5 MLAs who trumped top guns to secure wins for AAP in Gujarat

Dec 10, 2022 01:33 AM IST

Four of the AAP’s five MLAs have previous political histories with either the BJP, the Congress or the Bharatiya Tribal Party. Four of the MLAs are from Saurashtra, and one from south Gujarat.

At a time when the Aam Aadmi Party’s poster boys in Gujarat -- from chief ministerial candidate Isudan Gadhvi to state president Gopal Italia to Patidar face Alpesh Kathiriya -- lost the elections, five lesser-known faces have been left flying the party flag. Even as the party conducts a review of its bittersweet performance -- it fell way short of expectations by being unable to supplant Congress as the second largest party -- the challenge will be to keep the small band of legislators together.

AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal during a roadshow in Rajkot (PTI)
AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal during a roadshow in Rajkot (PTI)

Four of the AAP’s five MLAs have previous political histories with either the BJP, the Congress or the Bharatiya Tribal Party. Four of the MLAs are from Saurashtra, and one from south Gujarat.

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Also Read | Gujarat elections 2022: Hits and misses, gains and upsets

Chaitar Vasava, 37, won from the Dediapada assembly constituency in Narmada district beating the BJP’s Hitesh Vasava by a margin of 40,282 votes. Vasava is a former assistant to BTP president Mahesh Vasava, the son of party founder Chhotubhai Vasava. “For the past eight years, I have actively fought for the cause of the tribal community in Gujarat with my gurus, Chhotubhai Vasava and Mahesh Vasava. As the AAP MLA from Dediapada, I will speak out in the Gujarat Assembly about the issues that the tribal community faces in Gujarat,” Vasava said.

Vasava said that despite being with the AAP, he would continue to seek the advice and direction of Chhotu and Mahesh Vasava. The BTP was reduced to zero in the Gujarat assembly, down from the two seats it won in 2017.

In Junagadh district’s Visavadar town, the AAP’s Bhupat Bhayani beat Harshad Ribadiya, who joined the BJP after quitting the Congress, by a margin of,7,063 votes. Bhayani said that he was a BJP member for five years, and served at both the taluka and panchayat level, and admitted he left the BJP after feeling ignored. “Despite my long tenure in the party, the BJP leaders failed to recognise my abilities, so I left to join the AAP.”

In Jamjodhpur assembly constituency in Jamnagar district, Hemant Khava, 38, an Ahir leader who was previously with the Congress, beat the BJP’s Chiman Sapariya by 10,403 votes. Khava said that his family was connected with the Congress for more than five decades, but joined the AAP in 2021, four years after he was declined a ticket for the 2017 elections.

Umesh Makawana, 40, the AAP MLA from the Botad assembly constituency in Botad district is a social worker formerly associated with the BJP’s former Vibhavari Dave. Makwana left the BJP to join AAP in April this yearand was made the media coordinator for Botad and Bhavnagar districts. Botad is significant as it was the seat of former cabinet minister Saurabh Patel, who did not fight the elections.

AAP candidate Sudhir Vaghani won from the Gariadhar constituency, defeating BJP’s Keshubhai Nakrani with a margin of 4,819 votes.

Faced with the challenge of being reduced to five seats and keeping a small flock together, the AAP leadership on Friday exuded confidence. “We have entered Gujarat politics in BJP bastion by winning five seats and garnering 13% vote share. We are pleased that the world’s smallest political party has defeated the world’s largest political party, the BJP in these seats,” said Isudhan Gadhvi, AAP’s CM candidate who lost from Khambalia.

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