The gun-brandishing MP who would be MLA

He won his maiden Lok Sabha election in 2009. He vacated his Assembly seat and his son Jayesh won the by-election. After delimitation, most of the villages previously in Dhoraji have become part of Jetpur, from where the son is now contesting. And the father has returned to the restructured Dhoraji, which includes parts of the erstwhile Upleta constituency, and which has 2.3 lakh voters.

"I don't need to introduce myself," he says at a public meeting at Arni village. "People know me and my work of the past 20 years."

"He is the one who as Rajkot District Cooperative Bank chairman waived interest on all farm loans in the year of scanty rains," says a supporter.

"Social work through power," say slogans in Gujarati on posters that dot the single-lane road connecting Dhoraji to Arni, Padvala and other villages. His SUV is followed by five cars that halt with him at these prosperous villages. The meetings are sometimes under a tree, sometimes at a community hall and sometimes even at a road junction.

Jetpur and Dhoraji, the seats father and son are contesting, are both dominated by Leuva Patels, their own community. The community is also being mobilised under the religious organisation Khodaldham Trust, associated with Keshubhai Patel but with Radadiya, too, as one of the trustees.

Khodaldham finds hardly a mention on his campaign. He targets his BJP opponent Hari Patel and Chief Minister Narendra Modi, but ignores the candidate of Keshubhai's GPP.

Radadiya has been credited with the crowd mobilised for Sonia Gandhi's October public meet in Rajkot. It sparked speculation over whether he would be rewarded with a ministerial berth. What happened instead was Radadiya getting a ticket for himself as well as his son for the Assembly polls.

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