AIMIM Absence May Benefit I.N.D.I.A. Alliance In Bharuch LS Seat

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AIMIM Absence May Benefit I.N.D.I.A. Alliance In Bharuch LS Seat

| Updated: April 23, 2024 21:13

In what can perhaps turn out to be a major relief for the “I.N.D.I.A.” alliance in Gujarat, Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM has decided not to contest Lok Sabha elections.

AIMIM Gujarat state president Sabir Kabliwala told Vibes of India on April 23 that they are not contesting the elections as it is often alleged that the party is contesting to divide the opposition vote.

Earlier, in the last week of March, Kabliwala had said that their party will contest on two seats – Gandhinagar and Bharuch. Union Home Minister Amit Shah is contesting on the BJP ticket from Gandhinagar. He is facing 62-year-old AICC general secretary Sonal Patel of the Congress.

With the AIMIM deciding not to contest, Bharuch will see a triangular contest between Chaitar Vasava of the Aam Aadmi Party, six-time BJP MP Mansukh Vasava and Dilip Vasava of the Bharat Adivasi Party. Dilip is the son of Jhagadia MLA Chhotu Vasava. Dilip’s brother Mahesh has joined the BJP.

However, Kabliwala candidly said that they had a candidate in mind in the Bharuch constituency, but he refused at the last moment. “There is no point in putting up a candidate for the sake of contesting. We are giving the Congress an open field,” he said, adding that the Congress cannot ever defeat the BJP. The AIMIM state chief said that they will contest next elections.

While AIMIM’s presence would not have done much difference except for getting a few thousand votes on Gandhinagar seat, its presence would have affected the AAP candidate’s prospects in Bharuch.

Out of the 26 seats in Gujarat, the Congress has given two seats – Bhavnagar and Bharuch — to the “I.N.D.I.A.” alliance. Gujarat votes for 25 seats on May 7. Mukesh Dalal of the BJP was declared elected unopposed from the Surat LS seat on April 22 after the Congress candidate’s nomination was rejected and the rest of the candidates withdrew.

Chaitar Vasava is popular in his assembly constituency Dediapada from where he won by a margin of over 40,000 votes by defeating Hiteshkumar Vasava of the BJP.

Vasava was arrested and was behind the bars on the alleged charges of assault on government officers and a case of extortion. Two months ago, he walked out free after remaining 48 days behind bars. A week ago, the Gujarat High Court allowed him to enter the Narmada district.

The Bharuch Lok Sabha seat has about 15 per cent Muslim votes and about 12.5 per cent tribal votes.

Gujarat state spokesperson of the AAP Dr. Karan Barot said it remains to be seen how much Chaitar Vasava is benefitted. It has been seen that the AIMIM makes a dent in the opposition vote, he pointed out. “I am sure, it will surely be helpful,” he added.

Gujarat Congress leader Arjun Rathwa, who was earlier in the AAP, opined that the AIMIM’s absence will benefit the “I.N.D.I.A.” alliance candidate as there is a sizable Muslim population.

For Chaitar Vasava, his two wives Shakuntala and Varsha have been pillars of strength. They held the fort and campaigned when he was not allowed to enter Narmada district.

The AIMIM had tasted success in the civic body polls of 2021 in Godhra, Bharuch, Ahmedabad and Modasa. In Godhra, the party has nine councillors.

The Congress won the Bharuch seat till 1984 LS election and thrice late Congress leader Ahmed Patel represented the seat. However, since the 1989 elections, the BJP has been winning the seat with incumbent candidate Mansukh Vasava emerging victorious on six occasions.

Patel’s daughter Mumtaz had apparently shown keen interest to contest and there was a discontent within the party cadres when the seat was given to “I.N.D.I.A.” alliance. Sources said that Mumtaz was pacified.

Also Read: Mukesh Dalal Declared Unopposed in Surat Loksabha Election

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