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Meet Geniben Thakor, the Congress leader who broke party's Gujarat jinx with crowdsourced campaign

Gujarat: Geniben Thakor, acclaimed for breaking Congress's decade-long dry spell in Gujarat's Lok Sabha elections, ran a formidable campaign despite financial constraints. She crowdfunded her efforts, ultimately defeating BJP's Rekha Chaudhari in Banaskantha by 30,406 votes.

Meet Geniben Thakor, the Congress leader who broke party's Gujarat jinx with crowdsourced campaign gcw
First Published Jun 6, 2024, 5:13 PM IST

While Geniben Thakor is being hailed as a 'giant slayer' for giving Congress its first Lok Sabha seat in Gujarat in a decade, she did not have an easy campaign.  Despite financial constraints and a lack of monetary support from her party, Thakor successfully crowdfunded her campaign to secure her debut in the Lok Sabha.

Geniben Thakor defeated the BJP's Rekha Chaudhari by a margin of 30,406 votes in Banaskantha to become the first Congress MP in Gujarat in 10 years. Chaudhari is an engineering professor and the granddaughter of Galbabhai Chaudhary, who established the Banas Dairy in 1969.

In 2014 and 2019, the BJP secured the Lok Sabha seat of Banaskantha. The significance of Thakor's victory stems from Gujarat serving as the BJP's virtual stronghold. In the Lok Sabha elections of 2014 and 2019, the BJP secured all 26 seats.

Seen as humble and approachable, Geniben Thakor joined the Congress as a grassroots worker. She made her electoral debut in 2012 when she unsuccessfully contested the Gujarat Assembly elections from Vav constituency.

In the Vav seat in 2017, Geniben beat Banas Dairy chairperson and BJP heavyweight Shakar Chaudhary, despite the BJP's sweeping victory throughout the state. She won the constituency once more in the subsequent election.

At 48, Thakor's journey from a grassroots worker to a Lok Sabha MP underscored her determination and resilience. Her victory in Banaskantha, amidst a series of losses for other senior Congress leaders in Gujarat, highlights her exceptional electoral strategy and connection with the electorate. 

Her success in overcoming financial and political odds to secure a Lok Sabha seat reflects the potential for a shift in the state's political landscape.

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