Narendra Modiís rival revels in new role
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In Khokhra, an area with a mixed population including Christians (14 per cent of the electorate) and people of South Indian and Maharashtra origin, she is welcomed with a message, "At least you tried to know we too stay here." Seven churches have brought out a memorandum urging Christians to vote for her.
Maninagar is where Shweta was born and raised. She studied political science and pursued a Bachelors of Legislative Law course, but was never actively connected with politics and law, though she does discuss law and policing with her husband. When Sanjiv Bhatt was arrested in a fake affidavit case in connection with the 2002 riots, she campaigned for his release.
She says her political science background means she understands politics well. In her view, Modi's development politics blindfolds the country to his ill-doings, and doesn't fit in Gujarat or in his own constituency, which is marred with serious civic problems.
For voters, Modi is more the CM than the local MLA. When they see him in the neighbourhood, they say, it is to inaugurate something or address a function. Many say they never see him as an MLA who would address their local problems.
Shweta's daughter, who is pursuing an MBBS degree, and son, who is doing economics, accompany her on her campaigns. She also uses verses from a Gujarati poem she has written, which when translated read, "I have value but no power/You have power but where are your values?/ You are just you but "I" means all of us/... Now, war is the only welfare."
(1.18 lakh men, 1.09 lakh women)
Narendra Modi (BJP), Shweta Bhatt (Congress)
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