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Rajkot-II -- Under determined assault from Congress
December 07, 2002 10:59 IST
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's former constituency -- Rajkot-II -- is under a determined assault by the Congress in what promises to be a keen tussle between the main opposition party and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the December 12 assembly election.
The Congress has fielded Kashmira Nathwani, daughter of Chimanbhai Shukla, a prominent leader of the erstwhile Jan Sangh in Saurashtra, to take on senior BJP leader Vajubhai Vala, a former president of the party's state unit.
And this is where this contest becomes interesting.
Shukla had left the BJP along with Shankarsinh Vaghela in 1997. While Vaghela is now heading the Congress campaign in Gujarat, Shukla is back in the BJP fold and is campaigning against his daughter.
Modi had won the seat in a by-election last year by over 14,000 votes after Vala vacated it for him. This time, Modi has moved to Maninagar in Ahmedabad.
Vala, a veteran of many a poll battles, shrugs off suggestions that a serious challenge is at hand, though he is not taking any chances. He recently filed a Rs 50-million defamation suit against Nathwani for making allegations of corruption against him.
Nathwani maintains she has not received Vala's legal notice.
While the Congress accuses Vala of neglecting Rajkot's development, the BJP is banking mainly on, what the party calls, "Vala's untiring" efforts to bring water to Rajkot when he was heading the city's municipal corporation.
In what is touted as Gujarat's most crucial election, this is most certainly a contest to watch out for.
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