Updated: Thu, 08 Dec 2022 11:20 AM IST
POLLING for the second phase of the Gujarat Assembly Election was held on Monday where over 2 crore people sealed their votes in EVMs to elect among 833 candidates in the fray on 93 assembly segments spread across 14 districts. Among the 93, the Viramgam assembly constituency in Ahmedabad district is one of the most crucial seats. In Viramgam, young Patidar leader Hardik Patel is contesting his first election on a BJP ticket, while Congress is banking on its sitting MLA Lakhabhai Bharwad.
Viramgam is one of the historically significant towns in the state of Gujarat and home to the famous and centuries-old Munsar and Gangasar lakes. Besides, Viramgam has also remained a politically vibrant seat and is considered immune to caste politics as leaders from different castes and religions, including a minority community, have represented it so far.
Viramgam Assembly Constituency
Viramgam is home to nearly 3 lakh voters, including 65,000 Thakor (OBC) voters, 50,000 Patidars or Patel voters, nearly 35,000 Dalits, 20,000 Bharwad and Rabari community voters, 20,000 Muslims, 18,000 Koli members and 10,000 Karadia (OBC) Rajputs. However, this seat has so far given MLAs from different castes, including Tejashree Patel (Patidar), Daudbhai Patel (Muslim) in 1980, Kamabhai Rathod (Karadia Rajput) in 2007 and Lakhabhai Bharwad (OBC).
Viramgam Candidate List
BJP: Hardik Patel
Congress: Lakhabhai Patel
AAP: Amarsinh Thakor
Independent: Kirit Rathod
Viramgam Assembly Election 2022
Viramgam Assembly segment, which comprises Viramgam, Mandal and Detroj talukas of Ahmedabad, has been with the Congress for the last 10 years. Congress' Lakahbhai Bharwad won the seat in 2017 defeating BJP's Tejashree Patel, who defected from Congress. The BJP has fielded a Congress defector this time also. Young Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who joined BJP just four months ago, has been chosen by the saffron party to snatch the Viramgam seat from Congress.
For the 29-year-old Patel, a native of Chandranagar village of Viramgam taluka of Ahmedabad who was born and brought up in Viramgam town, it is his maiden Assembly election. He will lock horns with sitting Congress MLA Lakhabhai Bharwad, who defeated BJP's Tejashree Patel in 2017 by a margin of over 6,500 votes.
Bharwad is relying on his past performance and the work done for the people or at least raising the issues in the Assembly as well as at the local level to get a solution. Hardik, who rose to prominence after leading the Patidar reservation agitation seeking OBC status for the Patidar caste, has promised that he will make sure that Viramgam gets the status of a district and rural people are already thanking Patel for taking up this issue.
The Aam Aadmi Party is also in the fray, which initially gave ticket to one Kunvarji Thakor, before suddenly replacing him with Amarsinh Thakor. Kunvarji was unhappy with the development and decided to fight as an independent. In 2017, he had contested as an independent and secured the fourth place with 10,800 votes. One Kirit Rathod, a known Dalit activist from Viramgam, is also in the fray as an independent. Many believe that this trio, if they remain in fray, can disrupt the voting equations and give unexpected results.
Viramgam Assembly Election 2017:
In the 2017 assembly elections, the Viramgam Assembly seat had thrown up a surprise for the ruling BJP with Congress candidate Lakhabhai Bharwad winning the polls against BJP's Tejashree Patel by a margin of over 6,500 votes. Bharwad was an OBC leader and was chosen as the party candidate after the then-incumbent MLA Tejashree Patel defected from Congress to BJP.
Tejashree Patel had contested as a Congress candidate and defeated BJP’s Pragji Patel by a margin of more than 16,000 votes in the 2012 Assembly polls. During her tenure as the Congress MLA, she left her mark as a fierce critic of the ruling BJP, both inside and outside the Assembly. However, to everyone’s surprise, when she switched sides and fought on the BJP ticket in 2017, voters rejected her and chose Congress’ Lakhabhai Bharwad.