Jasdan (Gujarat), Dec 23: In what may be seen as a symbolic moral-booster for BJP after recent drubbing in Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, party candidate and Gujarat Minister Kunvarji Bavaliya on Sunday sealed victory in the crucial by election for Jasdan assembly seat in Gujarat by defeating his nearest rival of Congress Avsar Nakiya, what can be termed as the 'battle of prestige' for both the ruling as well as main opposition party, by a margin of 19,985 votes.
Chief Electoral officer of Gujarat S Murali Krishna told UNI that at the end of the counting of votes, Bavaliya got 90,268 votes while his nearest rival Nakiya could get only 73,283 votes. 2,146 votes were under NOTA. Bavaliya, a five time former MLA from Jasdan due to whose resignation from Congress as well as the seat in July this year, the by-poll held on December 20 was necessitated, had maintained the lead right from the beginning.
Krishna said that 71.23 per cent of the total 2,32,116 voters of this constituency had exercised their franchise during the by poll. Counting was held at Model school here in 19 rounds.
Bavaliya has almost doubled his victory margin this time after switching over to the BJP. In the last election on December 9, 2017, Jasdan constituency had recorded a voter turnout of 73.44 per cent. Kunvarji Bavaliya had won it as Congress candidate. He had got 84321 (49.90 per cent) votes defeating his nearest rival of BJP Bharat K Boghara who had got 75044 (44.41 per cent) votes.
There were a total of 262 polling booths at 159 locations i.e polling stations for the bypoll. Over one lakh of the voters were women. There were in all 8 candidates in the fray of whom the two main contestants were from the national parties BJP and Congress, 3 were from other registered parties and as many were independents.
BJP candidate and Gujarat Minister Kunvarji Bavaliya, a five time former MLA from this seat who was also Loksabha MP for one term, had resigned from the seat and Congress party on July 3 this year and joined the ruling party the same day. He was inducted as a minister also that day. He had alleged that Congress was ignoring senior leaders like him. The by-poll was necessitated due to his resignation only. Congress has fielded Avsar Nakiya, who was mentored politically by Bavaliya.
Notably Jasdan is deemed as a bastion of Congress where the party had faced defeat only once prior to today's result. Bavaliya claimed that it was because of him. The by-poll was being seen as a war-of-prestige for both BJP and Congress.
Bavaliya and Nakiya both belong to majority Koli community on this seat in Rajkot district. With Bavaliya's win, the tally of BJP in the 182 member Gujarat assembly has gone up to 100 while that of Congress has come down to 76. In his reaction Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani said that people has given a reply to the 'tall-claims' and misleading campaign of Congress. BJP would also emerge victorious on all the 26 Loksabha seats in the coming general election.
Bavaliya thanked the people and BJP leadership for showing faith in him. Nakiya on the other hand said that he suspected some tampering with EVM's. UNI