|HOME | NEWS | ELECTIONS '98 | CAMPAIGN TRAIL|
|February 26, 1998|
Constituency Profile/Amreli, Gujarat
Amreli set to throw out BJP legislator
"One vote to Madhubhai Bhuva and another vote to Dilip Sanghani," is what you hear in Mandva village if you ask villagers who they will vote for in the ensuring assembly and parliamentary elections in Gujarat, slated for February 28.
Bhuva is the Congress candidate for the Amreli assembly seat and Sanghani is the BJP nominee for the Lok Sabha seat. In the villages and in Amreli town, the people are not satisfied with the performance of Purushottam Rupala, the BJP MLA and who has been renominated from the Amreli assembly seat.
Ramji Wardoria of Mandva complains that adequate water and power supply is not available despite tall promises made by Rupala in the last two elections, both of which he won by staggering margins.
Mandva is not the only village where the BJP assembly candidate faces the electorate's wrath. The villagers of Lunaki, 30-odd km from Amreli, are so angry with Rupala that they refused to hear him when he visited the village to seek their votes.
Lunaki has been facing an acute water shortage, and when this correspondent visited the village over a week ago, he was told that the last water supply to the village had been made 10 days earlier! "Why should we vote for you when you can't even get us drinking water?" Rupala was asked by many. The MLA thought it wise to drive away instead of provoking the villagers further..
Similar sentiments were echoed by people in other villages as well. Bharat Patel of Vankya village is angry over the poor power supply which adversely affects his agricultural activities. With no big industries in the district, agriculture is the people's mainstay and electricity is needed to draw the canal water.
Although Bhuva is new to this constituency (he represented the Rajula assembly constituency twice), he faces little hostility because as a minister in the Chimanbhai Patel government, he had undertaken much development work in Amreli district. He had sanctioned a 400 kv power substation at Machiyalla, five kilometres from Amreli; and commissioned a project that will supply sufficient power to half of Saurashtra once commissioned.
Known for his clean image, Bhuva is also attacking his BJP rival for being "corrupt" and "lacking in morality" at every meeting. He reminds people that Amreli would have got enough water supply had they sent an "honest" representative to the state assembly.
People seem to be buying his argument, indicated by their loud applause. Though Bhuva clearly avoids giving a caste colour to the election, he never forgets to remind people to vote for one of their own family members. He hails from the Leuva Patel group, which accounts for 35 per cent of electorate, while Rupala is a Kadva Patel, forming hardly five per cent of the total votes in the constituency.
INFOTECH | TRAVEL | LIFE/STYLE | FREEDOM | FEEDBACK