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Vaghela vs Vaghela in Kapadvanj

April 10, 2004 16:47 IST

The Kapadvanj parliamentary constituency in Gujarat is set to witness a straight fight between two Vaghelas -- former chief minister Shankarsinh Vaghela of the Congress and former minister Leeladhar Vaghela of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Two independents are also in the fray, but they do not matter much.

Of the seven assembly segments in the constituency, four are with the BJP and the rest with the Congress. So, whichever way you look at it, it is going to be a contest of equals.

With over 12 lakh voters, dominated by both OBCs and kshatriyas, caste will be the main theme here.

Leeladhar Vaghela is expected to gobble up a substantial chunk of upper cast kshatriya votes. Kshatriyas have been loyal to Shankersinh thus far.

Issues like irrigational facilities and power have so far dominated the campaigning.

"Each village I go to, I come across a charged up atmosphere to bring the Congress back to power. People of all castes know me...I have travelled to even the smallest village to campaign for our cause," Shankarsinh says.

He has some old scores to settle. When the Narendra Modi-led BJP routed the Congress in the assembly election in Gujarat, it was a personal blow for Shankersinh, who was the Congress' state unit chief.
He won the 1999 Lok Sabha election beating the BJP's Jaisinhji Chauhan by over 16,000 votes.
The BJP, on the other hand, is keen to oust Shankersinh by harping on the lack of development work in the area.

Party's campaign in-charge for the region, MLA Bimal Shah says: "Development issues and problems of the people will be the deciding factor."
The BJP's success in getting Sardar Sarovar Dam's height increased is Leeladhar Vaghela's trump card. He will tell the voters how the entire region will be tranformed once the Narmada's water starts flowing.

Only time will tell which way the voters will lean, but if you are interested in politics this is one contest you wouldn't want  to miss.


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