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Tribal leader Chhotu Vasava files papers as independent from Jhagadia; Father Son Fight in Offing

Chhotu Vasava, the founder of the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), submitted his nomination on Monday as an independent candidate from the Jhagadia Assembly seat in Gujarat’s Bharuch district, running against his son Mahesh in the constituency if there are any no withdrawal occurs at the last minute.

Chhotu Vasava, who has represented the Scheduled Tribes (ST) reserved seat in the Assembly for seven consecutive terms, submitted his nomination as an independent and sounded confident of his victory in the December 1 elections.

BTP National President Mahesh Vasava, the son of Chhotu Vasava, is the party’s official candidate in Jhagadia.

Speaking of his move, the senior Vasava said he has to fight the polls because there is no one else to take on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Asked about his son as a candidate for the seat, the veteran tribal leader said: “Members of a family can fight from four places (seats)… the BJP is not going to win neither in the country nor in Gujarat. I have every hope of victory.” Chhotu Vasava’s personal secretary Abbalal Jadhav told media that the senior legislator had submitted his nomination form as an independent candidate, ending speculation as to whether or not he will compete from the seat.

“Chhotu Vasava has said he will continue to fight for tribal rights until his last breath, whether through polls or on social media. No one can take the Jhagadia chair from Chhotu Vasava. Vasava’s supporters held a meeting in his hometown where it was decided that he would run in the elections,” Jadhav said.

Jadhav added that such disputes, such as that between a father and son, were not uncommon in politics, adding that the (struggle) will be short-lived and a solution will be found very soon.

Meanwhile, BTP President Mahesh Vasava said he also submitted his nomination from Jhagadia. He had won from Dediapada constituency in Narmada district in the 2017 Assembly polls.

The father-son duo were the only two winners of the party in 2017.

“I have submitted my nomination as a BTP candidate. As national chairman of the BTP, I can say that we will win many seats. There will be no clear majority in the upcoming elections. People are aware. The fight is against unemployment, the COVID-19 pandemic and GST,” said Mahesh Vasava.

Asked if he was talking to his father, he said everyone has the right to submit nomination forms.

On November 9, the BTP had announced the candidacy of Mahesh Vasava from Jhagadia.

Bahadursinh Vasava is this time the BTP candidate from the seat of Dediapada.

In the 2017 elections, the BTP, which has significant influence in tribal-dominated parts of the state, had won two of the three seats it had contested in an alliance with the opposition congress. Senior Vasava won from Jhagadia and his son from Dediapada.

Incidentally, the father-son duo abstained from voting in the June 2020 Rajya Sabha elections and later announced severing ties with Congress in panchayat bodies in Narmada and Bharuch districts.

In May this year, Chhotu Vasava had formed an alliance with the Aam Aadmi party and held a joint meeting in Bharuch with AAP convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

However, the BTP later withdrew from its alliance with the AAP.

Of the 182 Assembly seats in Gujarat, 89 will go to the polls on December 1. The last day of withdrawal of candidacy for the first stage polling is November 17.

The second phase of the poll on December 5 will cover the remaining 93 seats in the Assembly.

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