Phase II today, 95 seats up for grabs

As many as 95 constituencies in Kutch, north and central Gujarat will go to polls in the second and last phase of the assembly elections Monday in which 1.96 crore electors will decide the fate of 820 candidates.

The constituencies going to polls include those severely affected by the 2002 Godhra train carnage and the subsequent statewide riots.

Between 2007 and 2012, verdicts in at least seven major riots cases have come out, convicting several from the influential Patel community and former minister and sitting BJP MLA Dr Maya Kodnani. She was convicted and sentenced in the Naroda Patiya case of Ahmedabad.

The other cases are Sabarmati Express burning at Godhra, Sardarpura, Dipda Darwaja, Ode massacres, Bilqis Bano gangrape and Best Bakery massacre.

In the Naroda Patiya massacre case, a special trial court convicted sentenced 32 persons, including Kodnani, to life imprisonment.

To match Kodnani's profile a woman gynaecologist from the Sindhi community the BJP has fielded Nirmala Wadhvani in Naroda constituency.

In Mehsana district, Sardarpura village witnessed a landmark verdict by the special court with convictions of 31 persons who were imprisoned for life.

Visnagar town in Mehsana had witnessed Dipda Darwaja massacre in which 22 persons were convicted; 21 of them getting lifer. Most of the 86 convicted in all these cases belong to the politically influential Patel community.

In Patan district, sitting BJP MLA Shankar Chaudhary is facing a murder case related to the riots. This time, Chaudhary is contesting from Vav constituency of Banaskanth district.

In the central Gujarat, Ode town in Anand district saw two judgments in separate cases. Total 33 persons were convicted in the two cases; 27 of them getting life imprisonment.

In the Panchmahals district, the Godhra train burning case saw conviction of 31 accused; 11 of them getting death penalty and 20 life imprisonment.

Sitting BJP MLA Kalu Malivad, who was an accused in a riot case, is contesting from Lunawada constituency in Panchmahals.

Bilqis Bano and Best Bakery cases were also reported from the same region. Both the cases were shifted to Maharashtra.

In the Bilqis Bano gangrape case, 13 persons were convicted by a Mumbai Sessions Court, five of them getting life imprisonment. In the Best Bakery case, nine persons were convicted by a Mumbai Sessions Court. Later, the Bombay High Court upheld the conviction of four of them and acquitted the rest.

Sitting BJP MLA from Waghodia in Vadodara Madhu Srivastava, who faced allegations of influencing prime witness of Best Bakery case Zahira Shaikh, is seeking a re-election from the same constituency.

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