The Modi wave in the 2012 Gujarat assembly election helped Poonam Maadam win from Khambhaliya assembly constituency. And, her uncle, Vikram Maadam, was elected from Jamnagar Lok Sabha constituency twice on a Congress ticket, albeit without any wave. While he won by 5,593 votes in 2004, the margin shot up to 26,418 votes in 2009. In 2014, the uncle and her niece are pitted against each other though.
It is the second time that the Bharatiya Janata Party has not repeated its candidate from Jamnagar. While Chandresh Patel lost in 2004, Ramesh Mungra bit the dust in 2009.
Having an electorate of 14.5 lakh voters, Jamnagar is expected to see a higher voter turnout this year. In 2009, with 12.98 voters, polling was 46%. This parliamentary constituency consists of seven assembly segments. They are Kalavad (SC), Jamnagar Rural, Jamnagar North, Jamnagar South, Jamjodhpur, Khambhaliya and Dwarka.
Among the electorate, Patels top the chart with over 3 lakh voters followed by 1.75 lakh Muslims, 1.5 lakh Aahirs, 1.35 lakh Rajputs, over 1 lakh Satwaras and others. While both BJP and Congress have fielded Aahirs, the Aam Aadmi Party candidate is a Rajput.
In the 2012 assembly election, BJP won Kalavad (SC), Jamnagar South, Jamjodhpur, Khambhaliya and Dwarka whereas Congress won Jamnagar North and Jamnagar Rural.
“I am not contesting against my family member. My battle is against the BJP and its ideology,” said Vikram. The 56-year-old Congress candidate claims to have a long list of issues against the saffron party. “Among them, the issue which automatically comes to mind is that the BJP government is not supporting farmers in this region. They are in a bad shape. Secondly, healthcare system is still not in place,” he added.
In 2009, the BJP candidate came with around 6,000 people to file his nomination. “At that time, I went with just four people. This year, the BJP candidate came with over 10,000 supporters and once again, I went with just four people. For the past 10 years, the people of Jamangar have sided with me,” said Vikram.
His family is associated with the Congress for the past 35 years. “I actively joined the Youth Congress in 1995. Today, at 56, I am still young. Compared to LK Advani, I am 30 years younger,” he gushed.
The new face of politics, Rajendra Jhala of AAP, has different issues to fight against BJP and Congress. “Our issue is the same for all, corruption. Secondly, neither BJP nor Congress is supporting defence. Of all the MPs or MLAs of Gujarat, not a single representative has his or her son or daughter in defence. My son and son-in-law are both in defence. Both the parties just claim to dedicate their lives to the nation.
But, in reality, no one has done anything for the country,” claimed Jhala.
The 40-year-old Poonam Maadam is contesting the Lok Sabha election for the first time. She has a business in trading and agriculture. Poonam, who belongs to a family which is highly active in the Congress, was also an active member of that party. But, she quit the grand old party after being denied ticket in the 2012 assembly election. So, the BJP not only welcomed Poonam but also gave her a ticket from Khambhaliya, where she defeated her rival convincingly.
As she was busy campaigning, Suresh Raj, the BJP office in-charge in Jamnagar, said: “She is only talking about the development done by BJP and prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in the constituency.”