Gujarat education minister and one of the senior most leaders in the Cabinet, Bhupendrasinh Chudasama has been facing the biggest embarrassment of his political career after the Gujarat high court held his election to the Gujarat assembly void. The court also observed that he was involved in corrupt practice to rig the election in his favour.
But had he accepted the offer that senior BJP leadership gave him two and a half years ago, he would have been in an extremely comfortable situation now and could have also avoided this embarrassment.
It so happened that when the party was shortlisting candidates for all the 182 seats in Gujarat for the assembly election, an internal report of BJP clearly indicated that Dholka in Ahmedabad district was going to be a very tough battle. Since Bhupendrasinh was one of the senior most leaders of the party and had been instrumental in helping many senior leaders during various crises, the party wanted to bring him into the assembly in a smooth manner.
So, after analyzing the internal report, the party offered Bhupendrasinh a chance to shift to Ahmedabad city. The party suggested Bhupendrasinh to contest from Vejalpur seat of Ahmedabad city and it was close to Dholka too. Vejalpur is considered one of the safest seats for BJP in Gujarat.
But in view of his long association with the Dholka assembly constituency and the presence of many of his institutions in that area, he preferred to contest from Dholka. Some insiders say, there was a fear that if a ticket was given to some other candidate from the BJP and if the candidate were to scrape through, there will be another leader in the region to challenge Chudasama’s fiefdom. So, he convinced the leadership that he would manage to win the constituency.
Now after the Gujarat High Court order which has created embarrassment not only for him but also for the party, many close associates of Bhupendrasinh feel it was not a wise decision to reject the offer of the party leaders to contest from the vulnerable seat.
(The author is a senior journalist with over two decades of experience covering Gandhinagar, bureaucracy and politics in Gujarat.)