Isudan Gadhvi received the most number of votes in his party’s opinion poll to become the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) chief ministerial candidate in Gujarat Assembly polls. When and where it mattered, though, he did not get enough votes to even win the election for himself.
Gadhvi, a former journalist, remained upbeat in defeat. Thanking his party workers, he said, “Our expectations were not huge but we have made an attempt to enter Gujarat. We will now start to prepare for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections from Friday itself.”
Gadhvi’s party colleague Gopal Italia, the Gujarat president of the AAP, was also defeated (from Katargam). Two other AAP candidates from the Surat belt lost as well. While Alpesh Katheria lost from the Varachha Road constituency, Dharmik Malaviya lost in Olpad.
Khambhalia, from where Gadhvi contested, emerged as one of the more significant seats in this elections. The BJP won the seat in 2007 and 2012 but lost to the Congress in a by-poll in 2014. The Congress retained it in 2017. A win for Gadhvi would have established him as a strong leader within the AAP in Gujarat.
Italia rose to prominence during the 2015 Patidar agitation. Gadhvi has been a member of the AAP for just about 18 months, compared to the party’s state presidents Gopal Italia and Manoj Sorathiya, who have been around for longer and were also considered potential CM candidates.
The AAP with its Gujarat experiment is expected to force a change in the binary politics of the state and present the BJP with a more persistent and strategic opponent than the Congress has been. Party leaders have already said that this election marks the beginning of the AAP’s journey as a national party.