Jignesh Mevani trailing in Vadgam

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Jignesh Mevani. Photo: Mathrubhumi Archives

Vadgam (Gujarat): Firebrand Dalit leader and Vadgam's sitting MLA Jignesh Mevani of the Congress party was trailing his nearest rival from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, early trends showed.

After four rounds of voting, Mevani had polled 15,455 votes, trailing BJP's Manibhai Vaghela by 3,361 votes. If the trend persists, it would be a major setback to the Congress party as Mevani has emerged as one its most prominent leaders in the state after formally joining the party earlier this year.

Mevani had won Vadgam in 2017 as an independent candidate supported by the Congress party. His rival, Vaghela, is a turncoat who switched from Congress to BJP after he was denied ticket in 2017. He held the Vadgam seat from 2012 to 2017.

Vadgam is a reserved seat for the scheduled castes (SCs), where Muslim voters play a decisive role. Muslim voters, estimated to be around 90,000, account for a third of Vadgam's 2.94-lakh electorate. There are about 44,000 dalit voters and 15,000 Rajputs. The rest comprise mostly OBCs.

The trends seen in early rounds could change when counting extends to votes cast in Muslim dominated areas, who were seen rallying for Mevani.

Besides Vaghela, Mevani faced competition from candidates fielded by the Aam Aadmi Party and AIMIM of Assauddin Owaisi -- Dalpat Bhatia and Kalpesh Sundhia respectively.


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