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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

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Can Ravindra Punch Jadeja For Wife In Gujarat, Can She Punch A Sixer For BJP?

Rivaba Jadeja, BJP candidate from Jamnagar North for the December election, is exhausted but greets everyone with a smile as she inaugurates an election office.

Accompanying her is Dharmendarsinh Jadeja, who had won the 2017 parliamentary elections from this seat – a subtle message from the party to cadre that its decision on candidate selection is supreme.

On Monday, when Rivaba Jadeda – accompanied by her cricketer husband Ravindra Jadeja – went to the airport to receive Amit Shah, the Union Home Secretary inquired about the campaign. “Full-fledged chal raha hai,” she replied with a smile.

Unperturbed by the challenges that come her way, Rivaba Jadeja draws her strength from the motivational words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and her husband who make sure she gets everything she needs.

“I wore lace-up sneakers and had difficulty taking shoes off when visiting temples or meeting places. I told him [Ravindra Jadeja] by the way I don’t even have time to buy loafers. He asked my size and sent me a pair. This is a whole new side of him. This is how much he supports me,” says the BJP candidate.

Ravindra Jadeja will campaign on the party’s schedule from Tuesday. “We go to different places according to the directions and schedule of the party. People want to meet him. ‘Unki taraf se woh mehnat kar rahe hain mere liye’ (He works hard for me). We start our day meeting people,” adds Rivaba Jadeja.

In the battle, she will face Congress candidate Bipendrasinh Jadeja and former BJP leader Karsan Karmur, who is now fighting from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Meanwhile, some believe that Dharmendarsinh does not have much interest in the polls. Ask him if it’s true and the former MLA says, “I’ve always been by her side when she needed me.”

It was on Prime Minister Modi’s insistence and suggestion in 2018 that Rivaba Jadeja joined BJP.

“Since I was a child I wanted to contribute to society. I was thinking about going into government. Then I went to Delhi for three years and also appeared for the Indian Air Force. But it was all about fate. I got married and life took a different turn. Family became a priority. But I longed to do something for society.

“We met the Prime Minister at the end of 2018 and discussed several issues. That was the first time I realized how level-headed he was despite his journey from Prime Minister to Prime Minister’s Chair. He made us feel so comfortable. He insisted that I direct my energy in the right direction and fulfill my dream through the platform of the party. I joined BJP in 2019,” says Rivaba Jadeja of her journey with the party.

But will her celebrity aura get in the way of her depiction of a folksy person? The BJP candidate says she has succeeded in making people feel like ‘I am one of them’.

“I have received comments like why do I visit villages when my husband is playing IPL matches, that I have to accompany him to matches. I am happy to share that I am at the bottom of the wives of cricketers who accompany their husbands on tours. I have attended the fewest matches,” she adds.

And does she get messages from other cricketers’ wives? “I get their best wishes, but I’m super busy campaigning. They are all happy. They also work on women’s empowerment in their own way,” she says.

Family support is essential for women’s empowerment

“When I talk about women’s empowerment, the support of the family is vital. When you get married, your husband’s support is crucial,” says Rivaba Jadeja.

Women’s empowerment should start at home, believes the BJP leader, and would like husbands to support their wives in achieving their dreams.

So, is she nervous about running for election for the first time?

“Everyone started somewhere. I am thankful to be part of the BJP family. They will never let you be weak. PM Modi inspires and encourages me with his words. It’s a booster dose for me. Elections in Gujarat have never been tripolar as such. BJP is a cadres-based party and ‘karyakartas’ accept its decisions,” she says.

When asked if it bothers her that her sister-in-law is campaigning for Congress on the seat, Rivaba Jadeja says that everyone in her family has liberty and freedom and that it is not the first time that two people from the same family espouse different ideologies. .

“They have their own ideology and I have mine. We both focus on our own path. Matbhed ho sakta hai but manbhed nahi hona chahiye. (You can differ with each other, but there should be no differences between us)”, says the debutant whose goal is to make Jamnagar a ‘smart Nagar’.

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