Morbi, a Patidar stronghold, will be an interesting contest to watch out this bypolls. Eight seats in Gujarat, including Morbi, will see bypolls on November 3.
The BJP has given a ticket to Congress turncoat candidate Brijesh Merja while the Congress candidate is Jayanti Patel
Brijesh Merja’s candidature has not gone down well with local BJP leaders and workers as well as they see it as an outsider taking over their chance.
Morbi-Madiya-Miyana seat has 2.55 lakh voters and Brijesh Merja had won the seat in 2017 on a Congress ticket with a slim margin of 3,419 votes.
If the polling percentage in Morbi town dips, then it will have a direct impact on the BJP’s prospects.
Defecting to BJP may prove costly for Brijesh Merja
If the buzz is to be believed the voters are not exactly pleased with turncoat MLA Brijesh Merja. The BJP will gain if it manages to soothe the ruffled feathers in the town but the same cannot be said of voters in villages who may carry a grudge against Brijesh Merja for jumping ship for personal gains.
On the contrary, Congress’ candidate Jayanti Patel is a local as well as a member of the dominant Patidar community.
Jayanti Patel belongs to Barvada and is a well-known industrialist from the area and is also the president of the local chamber of commerce.
Patel has been associated with the Congress for 35 years. He has contested the seat five times, once as an independent and four times as a Congress candidate.
Patel has lost the seat every time he contested- 1990, 1995, 1997, 2002 અને 2007. He had contested as an independent in 1997. It remains to be seen whether Patel will reap the benefits of people’s anger towards Brijjesh Merja.
Morbi’s history of voting
Since 1962, the seat has gone to polls 13 times of which BJP has won six times while Congress has won five times. In 1967, the Swatantra Party candidate VV Mehta won the seat while in 1990 Independent candidate Babubhai Patel won it.
The seat has domination of Patidar voters. Of the total voters, 70,000 are Patidars while 40,000 are Muslims. Kolis make up 25,000 voters while Brahmins, Jains and Lohanas are in the 8000- 9000 range each.
The main concern for voters in Morbi remains roads, water, education and other public facilities. Morbi is a ceramic hub that exports its products to over 154 countries across the globe.
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