Godmotherís son strikes familiar chord in her seat

National

The world outside Gujarat knows his mother as the Godmother, on whom a Hindi film of the same name has been based. Santokben Jadeja's son Kandhal, 39, youngest of four, is banking on that legacy and yet trying to shake off his criminal record as he approaches voters.

The late Santokben was the MLA from Kutiyana in the 1990s and her son is contesting the same constituency as the candidate for the NCP, which is in alliance with the Congress. Kandhal Jadeja urges people to vote for the clock symbol, making it clear there is no Congress this time.

Campaigning in the villages of Gosabara region, some 20-odd km from Porbandar city, Kandhal moves in a cavalcade of eight SUVs and repeatedly brings up the work done by his parents, Santokben and Sarman Munja. His supporters remind villagers that the region, known as Ghed Panthak, was where Santokben hailed from. The identification works, with many women waiting just for a glimpse of Santokben's son. After his public speech at each village, he meets the women and the youths.

His parents' photographs feature on his election posters on village walls. "Our family has served the people. My parents had served the people here and you all are aware of it," he tells villagers at Tukda.

Kandhal faces several criminal cases and the Porbandar district administration last month issued him a notice externing him from certain areas. The notice was stayed by the high court.

"My rival (sitting BJP MLA Karsan Odedara) is spreading lies that I am a goon who will take away their land," he tells around 200 villagers at Tukda, addressing them from a temple of Lord Ram. He says the present government has been pressuring him not to contest. "They have tried a lot of things because they know that I am going to win. When everything failed, they tried to extern me, but even that has failed," Kandhal says.

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