Nitish to hit campaign
trail in Gujarat polls

AHMEDABAD — With assembly elections in Gujarat only three months away, Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s Bihar counterpart and bete noire, Nitish Kumar, is all set to hit the campaign trail in the state in support of candidates of his party, the Janata Dal-United (JD-U).

By Mahesh Trivedi

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Published: Sun 26 Aug 2012, 11:08 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 9:56 AM

Gujarat JD-U chief and lone MLA of the party, Chhotu Vasava, told Khaleej Times that Kumar and national party president Sharad Yadav would attend the party’s massive rallies planned in five tribal-dominated districts of the state next month.

The fact that JD-U has taken the assembly polls seriously became evident on Saturday with the party high command not only appointing K C Tyagi as in-charge for the state unit but also naming Chandraj Singhvi as the chairman of the party’s election campaign committee.

Vasava, who has been representing Jhagadia constituency near Bharuch in central Gujarat for decades, said his party had countless followers in Gujarat’s tribal belt where it would field candidates in at least 30 constituencies in the coming 

Last year, Vasava had threatened the state and federal government that tribals would be forced to demand a separate state in Gujarat if they continued to be neglected.

After this, a tribal, Ganpat Vasava, was appointed as Speaker of the assembly.

The Bharatiya Janata Party had kept Modi away form Bihar during 2010 assembly polls following reservations expressed by the JD-U.

Also bent on expanding its base outside Uttar Pradesh for being notified as a national party, the Samajwadi Party (SP) had last month revealed its plan to test political waters in Gujarat by throwing its hat into the ring in the assembly polls.

The party has decided to contest all the 182 seats in Gujarat and has been mobilising party faithfuls.

SP’s membership drive in April had also evoked an encouraging response, especially in Surat, Bharuch, Ankleshwar, Vapi, Umargam and Valsad in south Gujarat. Of the 600,000 people from UP and Bihar settled in Gujarat, as many as 500,000 are registered voters who can make a difference in at least 20 assembly constituencies.

The SP had contested some seats in the 2007 assembly polls but without much success, but is hopeful of making its presence felt in 2012 because of the disenchantment with the Congress and the anti-incumbency factor going against the BJP.

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