Delimitation puts Cong in a fix over ticket in Kheda
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After Vaghela's Chaklasi constituency was wiped out in the re-arrangement of seats, the party is in a fix over whom to choose for Mahudha as both the leaders have staked a claim to the constituency.
Vaghela, 79, has been winning the Chaklasi seat for the last 22 years after defecting to the Congress from the Janta Party in 1990 following persuasion by former Chief Minister Madhavsinh Solanki. He has won all the five Assembly elections held since 1990.
However, post delimitation, Chaklasi has been merged with Nadiad, Matar and Mahudha constituencies. Chaklasi town has gone to Mahudha and this is the reason that Vaghela has staked a claim to the party ticket from that constituency. "I know I am 79-year-old but my supporters and people have asked me to continue serving... So, I have sought ticket from Mahudha," he said.
On the other hand, Thakor (69) also a Kshatriya, has also maintained an impressive record from Mahudha, winning it five consecutive times since 1990. He even overcame challenge of Prof Kishorsinh Solanki of the BJP in 1995.
But Thakor, according to local leaders, is not as popular as Vaghela among local party leaders and workers and has been winning in the name of the party since Mahudha, dominated by Kshatriyas, is a Congress fortress. "I believe it's the Congress, and not Thakor, that has won Mahudha all these years. Vaghela's image is clean, but one cannot say the same thing for Thakor," a Congress insider said.
"Vaghela is strong in Chaklasi and Fatepura which are now in Mahudha. However, Thakor is sitting MLA from Mahudha. Both have staked a claim to ticket from the same seat. Now the party high command will take a call," said Kheda district Congress president Bharatsinh Thakor.
Congressmen fear that they stand to lose irrespective of who gets the party mandate. "The one who will not get a ticket will have a grudge against the one who gets it. We fear the aggrieved can indulge in anti-party activity. So, there is also a view that neither should be given the ticket," said another party leader.
Mahudha is the smallest constituency in Kheda district in terms of number of voters (1,97, 351). Thakor had won the 2007 elections by around 9,000 votes.
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