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With Sadbhavna Manch led by rebel BJP MLA from Mahuva Kanu Kalsaria failing to reach any seat-sharing arrangement either with the Congress or with the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP), the five coastal seats in Amreli and Bhavnagar districts are set for a four-cornered contest.
On Friday, Sadbhavna Manch declared its five candidates. Kalsaria himself will contest from Gariyadhar in Bhavnagar district, vacating Mahuva seat that he won thrice. A practising surgeon, Kalsaria rebelled against his party BJP to lead successfully an agitation by farmers against the proposed Nirma cement plant in Mahuva and went on to win the case in the Supreme Court.
"Villages affected by Nirma's cement plant are equally distributed in Mahuva and Gariyadhar. This time, I have decided to contest from Gariyadhar," said Kalsaria.
GPP general secretary Gordhan Zadaphia, who was expected to contest from Gariyadhar, will now be in the fray from Gondal seat in Rajkot district, which is at present held by NCP MLA Chandu Vaghasia.
Congress has given Gondal seat to NCP as part of their tie-up. Leuva Patels, the community to which Keshubhai Patel and Zadaphia belong to, have dominance in the constituency. Vaghasia, also a Leuva, was recently arrested in connection with a scam and currently out on bail granted by the High Court. He is likely to be repeated by NCP.
Asked if a four-cornered contest could benefit BJP, Kalsaria said, "On the contrary, since it is friendly fight between GPP, Congress and SM, BJP's votes will reduce."
The Samajwadi Party is fielding Bharat Thakar, a local leader, from Mahuva. BJP has fielded Bhavna Makwana from there while Congress and GPP are yet to announce their candidates for the seat.
Heavyweights file nominations
Heavyweights including GPP president Keshubhai Patel (Visavadar), Finance Minister Vaju Vala (Rajkot West), Congress Legislature Party leader Shaktisinh Gohil (Bhavnagar Rural), Fisheries Minister Parshottam Solanki (Bhavnagar Rural), GPP general secretary Gordhan Zadaphia (Gondal) and state BJP president Ranchoddas Faldu (Jamnagar Rural) filed their nomination papers Friday.