Gujarat Election 2022: Kunvarji Bavaliya, BJP's Bet For Jasdan Seat Was Once A Staunch Congressman

Gujarat Assembly Election 2022: In Jasdan, the BJP is banking on its MLA, Kunvarji Bavaliya, who ditched Congress to join the saffron brigade in 2018.

Gujarat Election 2022: Kunvarji Bavaliya, BJP's Bet For Jasdan Seat Was Once A Staunch Congressman
BJP candidate from Jasdan Assembly Constituency, Kunvarji Bavaliya. (File Image)

WHILE the Gujarat poll is largely being seen going in the favour of the BJP, the Jasdan Assembly constituency in Rajkot district is one seat where the saffron brigade is hoping to find luck on its side. In Jasdan, the BJP is banking on the poached MLA, Kunvarji Bavaliya, who ditched Congress to join BJP in 2018. The incumbent MLA and state minister, Kunvarji Bavaliya is not a new name for the people as he has ruled over the Jasdan seat for 14 years straight from 1995 to 2009 before getting elected to the Lok Sabha in 2009 from the Rajkot seat. Now, he is facing a tough contest from his former protege Bholbhai Gohil of the Congress on his own turf. 

All you need to know about Kunvarji Bavaliya

Kunvarji Bavaliya is a well-known person in the state of Gujarat as he is a six-time MLA and currently a Minister Of Water Supply, Animal Husbandry, and Rural Housing in the state cabinet. Born in 1955 in Jasdan of the Rajkot district, Kunvarji Bavaliya holds BSc and BEd degrees from Saurashtra University and Gujarat University. Bavaliya belongs to the Koli community which is a numerically big OBC community with a strong presence in Saurashtra and South Gujarat. Of Jadan's 2.6 lakh voters, around one lakh belong to the Koli community.

Bavaliya was once a staunch Congressman before his ties with the grand old party severed four years back. Bavaliya's major rise in state politics started after he became an MLA from the Jasdan seat on a Congress ticket. Since Kolis are considered to be Congress loyalists, Bavaliya's stature in state politics rose rapidly. He won the Jasdan seat consecutively from 1995 to 2007.

In 2009, Bavaliya contested the Lok Sabha Elections on a Congress ticket and won the Rajkot seat by a margin of over 25,000 votes against BJP's Kirankumar Patel. However, with the Modi wave in 2014, Bavaliya's stint at the Lok Sabha ended and he lost the 2014 General Elections to BJP's Mohanbhai Kundariya who won by a margin of nearly 2.50 lakh votes.

Bavaliya then contested the 2017 Gujarat Assembly Election and again won the Jasdan seat for Congress. However, in 2018, a rift developed between Bavaliya and the state Congress leadership regarding the elevation of Patidar MLA Paresh Dhanani as the leader of the opposition in the state assembly.

Sensing an opportunity, the BJP wooed him into its fold. Bavaliya severed his decades-old ties with Congress and joined the BJP in 2018. A by-election was conducted on the Jasdan seat and Kunvarji Bavaliya won the election on a BJP ticket.

Bavaliya was made a cabinet minister in the Vijay Rupani-led BJP government in the state in 2018. Now, he is serving as a Minister Of Water Supply, Animal Husbandry, and Rural Housing in the state cabinet. Bavaliya is facing a stiff challenge from his former protege Bholbhai Gohil who is banking on the loyalty of Kolis towards Congress. It will only be revealed on December 8 whether the voters of Jasdan showed their loyalty to the Congress party or their leader. 

Gujarat Election 2022

Elections to the 182-member legislative Assembly in Gujarat have started with the first phase of polling concluding on December 1. The second phase will take place on December 5 while the results for the crucial polls will be declared on December 8. The BJP is seeking a seventh straight term in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party is trying to make inroads in Gujarat and replace at least the main opposition Congress.

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