Lok Sabha polls: Congress, AAP lock horns over Bharuch seat in Gujarat

Congress has failed to win back the constituency from the BJP for over three decades

congress aap Representational image

The Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party have locked horns over Bharuch parliamentary constituency in Gujarat ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. It is a seat which the BJP has not lost since 1989 but which is of immense political importance to both the Congress and the AAP.

According to Congress sources, the party is not ready to give up the seat for the AAP. On the other hand, the AAP had announced its candidate for the seat long before the negotiations for seat-sharing even began between the two parties.

AAP convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had, in December, chosen Dediapada in Bharuch to sound the poll bugle and declared the name of party MLA Chaitar Vasava as the AAP's nominee from the constituency for the Lok Sabha elections.

As per AAP leaders, the Congress has failed to win back the constituency from the BJP for over three decades and hence, it does not have a strong claim over the seat.

The Congress is keen to contest from the seat and wrest it back from the BJP. The seat was once a Congress stronghold. Tribal leader Mansukhbhai Vasava is the BJP's MP from the seat at present. Vasava has held the seat since 1998. Ahmed Patel was MP from Bharuch for three consecutive terms before the seat was won by the BJP in 1989. He won the elections from Bharuch for the first time in 1977, and went on to win in 1980 and 1984. After the elections in 1989, he entered the Rajya Sabha.

The political turnaround in Bharuch was seen as evidence of the BJP experimenting with Hindutva, finding success with it and establishing it in Gujarat and elsewhere. This makes it especially significant for the Congress to try and win the seat back from the BJP.

As the Congress seeks to reclaim Bharuch, there is speculation over whether Patel's daughter Mumtaz, who has, since her father's demise, been cultivating the constituency, would be fielded by the party from the seat. Her brother Faisal is also learnt to be keen to contest from Bharuch.

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