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Gujarat assembly polls: Riot-scarred Naroda to elect a new face

Monday, 10 December 2012 - 9:45pm IST | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: dna

While BJP replaced Maya Kodnani with Nirmala Wadhwani, a Sindhi and a gynecologist like her predecessor, the Congress has nominated Bhavan Bharwad, who is having first brush with elections of any kind.

Residents of Naroda’s Noblenagar area finally have an opportunity to see a politician. After five long years, a politician is landing in their society seeking votes which will be their only to air grievances related to basic issues of drainage and drinking water supply.

BJP has made this constituency its own for last 17 years (since 1995) with party’s Sindhi candidates winning every time. Gopaldas Bhojwani won in 1995 while Dr Maya Kodnani won in 1998, 2002 and in 2007.

This time around, the Maya Kodnani version 2.0, Dr Nirmala Wadhwani is contesting election for the first time. A Sindhi woman, she is a gynecologist from Naroda.

Accompanies by 30 BJP workers including 10 women, she entered the societies in Noblenagar area with band baja playing music of ‘yeh desh hai veer jawano ka’ in the background.

The segment is a mix of Sindhi, Hindi speaking and Gujaratis but their issue was common — inconsistent supply of drinking water and incomplete drainage lines. However, Wadhwani simply walked away without listening to them.

Interestingly, the resentment doesn’t seem to have an impact on the voting pattern here. “Even if we don’t vote for BJP, our issues will remain unsolved. I am seeing Wadhwani today, and won’t see her for next five years,” said 67-year-old, Bhagwandas Thethani who is residing here for past 15 years.

Congress's slow but steady start
Congress candidate from Naroda, Bhavan Bharwad got off to a slow start and joined the campaigning on December 3 with his own supporters looking confused. The trail was scheduled to start at 9 am, which could start only by 11.30 am.

Compared to Wadhwani, he had more men in the arsenal. Sans any band baaja, Bharwad’s trail lasted for about 90 minutes covering areas with castes like Patels, SCs and Sindhis.

In a few crossroads and lanes, some supporters of Congress also offered garlands to Bharwad. Tired of Sindhi’s dominance in the area, resident of Naroda Gam, Raman Parmar and Prabhatsinh Rathod were one of the few to offer garlands. “As BJP ahs been winning from this constituency, Patels and other Gujaratis have been ignored. For a change, we want Bharwad to win and bring some changes,” said Rathod.

Agreeing with Rathod, Parmar said that in BJP’s rule, poor has become poorer. “The BJP government supports only rich and affluent class. We want such government which will not neglect poor people or common man,” said Parmar.

“I know Bharwad for past several years but it looks very difficult for him to win from this constituency as BJP is very strong here. People are now more emotionally touched with BJP as Mayaben Kodnani has become victim of the Congress party’s dirty politics,” said Vinu Patel, a resident in the area.

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