Khadia, in the old city of Ahmedabad, has its own importance in the BJP’s trajectory. Khadia has always had a very staunch BJP voter base. Home to many small shrines and labyrinths of ‘pol”s, Khadia had an upper caste population. The famous Ahmedabad Rath Yatra traverses through Khadia. Since the time of the freedom struggle and the NavNirman agitation, Khadia has reverberated with vibrant vibes from agitating youth and ever-debating elders.
Earlier, neighbouring Jamalpur with a predominantly Muslim community was a separate seat. Jamalpur in neighbourhood also ensured the tilt of Khadia towards Hindu religion-based politics.
BJP stalwart, former minister, and later speaker of Vidhan Sabha Ashok Bhatt was the biggest leader in Khadia for decades. Khadia sent him to Vidhan Sabha eight times in a row between 1980 to 2007.
Now, Khadia and Jamalpur are amalgamated into a single seat. Bhushan Bhatt, Ashok Bhatt’s son, is the candidate from Khadia in the assembly elections of 2022 on the BJP ticket. Bhushan Bhatt won the Khadia by-election on a BJP ticket in 2011 after the death of Ashok Bhatt in 2010. Bhushan Bhatt won the seat again in 2012 when Jamalpur and Khadia were amalgamated into a single seat.
Interestingly, in 2012, out of 1,24,398 votes polled, Bhushan Bhatt secured 38.6%, i.e 48058 votes. It was Congress’s internal factionalism that offered the win on a platter to the BJP. Sabir Kabliwala. the AIMIM candidate in this year’s assembly elections, fought as an independent candidate after he was denied a ticket by Congress and secured 30513 votes. Congress’ official candidate Samirkhan Sipai got 41727 ( 33.5% votes)
Counted together, Samir khan and Kabliwala’s votes amounted to whopping 72240 votes, 58.1%. However, our democracy’s first past the post principle ensured Bhushan Bhatt’s win.
In 2017, Bhushan Bhatt was pitted against Imran Khedawala of Congress and lost by 29339 votes. In the direct contest, Khedawala got 59% votes ( 75346) and Bhushan Bhatt got 36% votes ( 46007)
2022 promises to stage a repeat of 2012. Bhushan Bhatt is running on the BJP ticket against Sabir Kabliwala of AIMIM and Imran Khedawala of Congress. Among Muslims in the Jamalpur area, a significant number are from the Chheepa community, to which both Kabliwala and Khedawala belong. The Muslim votes are likely to split benefitting Bhushan Bhatt directly. In this scenario, the Dalit votes will be the deciding factor in the Jamalpur-Khadia constituency in 2022.