Gujarat Elections 2022: Chhotu Vasava files nomination as independent from Jhagadia; to contest against son
Chhotu Vasava, who has represented the Assembly's Scheduled Tribes (ST) reserved seat for seven consecutive terms, filed his nomination as an independent and expressed confidence that he would win the December 1 election. His son, BTP national president Mahesh Vasava, is the party's official candidate in Jhagadia.
The founder of the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), Chhotu Vasava, filed his nomination as an independent candidate for the Jhagadia Assembly seat in Gujarat's Bharuch district on Monday, pitting himself against his son Mahesh in the constituency if there is no last-minute withdrawal.
Chhotu Vasava, who has represented the Assembly's Scheduled Tribes (ST) reserved seat for seven consecutive terms, filed his nomination as an independent and expressed confidence that he would win the December 1 election.
The BTP's official candidate in Jhagadia is Mahesh Vasava, son of Chhotu Vasava and national head of the party.
Speaking about his decision, senior Vasava said that he has to contest the polls as there is no one else to challenge the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
When asked about his son contesting for the seat, the veteran tribal leader said, "Members of a family can contest from four locations...the BJP will not win, neither nationally nor in Gujarat. I am confident of victory."
While talking to the media, Abbalal Jadhav, Chhotu Vasava's personal secretary, said that the senior legislator filed his nomination form as an independent candidate, putting an end to speculation about whether or not he would run for the seat.
"Chhotu Vasava has announced that he will keep fighting for the rights of tribals until he dies, whether through polls or online forums. No one will be able to steal Jhagadia's seat from Chhotu Vasava. At a meeting at his home, Vasava's followers determined he would run for office," said Jadhav.
According to Jadhav, such disagreements between a father and son are common in politics. He also predicted that the conflict would end quickly and that a solution would arrive soon.
The president of the BTP, Mahesh Vasava, has also submitted his nomination for Jhagadia. In the 2017 Assembly elections, he won from the Dediapada constituency in the Narmada district. In 2017, the father-son duo were the only two winners of the party.
"I have officially submitted my nomination as the BTP candidate. As the BTP's national president, I can confidently predict we will win many seats. The upcoming election will not have a certain majority. People are conscious. The fight is against the GST, unemployment, and COVID-19 pandemic," said Mahesh Vasava.
When asked about being pitted against his father, he said everyone has a right to file nominations. On November 9, the BTP announced Mahesh Vasava's candidacy from Jhagadia. This time, the BTP candidate for Dediapada is Bahadursinh Vasava.
The BTP, which has pockets of influence in tribal-dominated areas of the state, won two of the three seats it contested in an alliance with the opposition Congress in the 2017 elections. Senior Vasava was elected from Jhagadia, and his son was elected from Dediapada.
In addition, the father-son duo did not vote in the June 2020 Rajya Sabha election. Later, in panchayat bodies in the Narmada and Bharuch districts, it declared its separation from Congress.
In May this year, Chhotu Vasava and Aam Aadmi Party convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal participated in a joint rally in Bharuch. However, the BTP later dissolved its partnership with the AAP.
In the first phase, 89 of Gujarat's 182 Assembly seats will go to the polls on December 1. The deadline for withdrawing from the first round of voting is November 17.
The remaining 93 Assembly seats will be decided in the second voting phase on December 5.
(With inputs from PTI)