Dalit Leader Jignesh Mevani Wins From Vadgam; Manibhai Vaghela Magic Fails To Break Congress

Jignesh Mevani in 2017 won the election from Vadgam with support of Congress. The party shifted its sitting MLA Manibhai Vaghela that led to him changing the boat ahead of 2022 election.

Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani trailing from Vadgam

Among all the bad news from Gujarat, there is something that Congress can cheer about and it is the victory of their Dalit face Jignesh Mevani from Vadgam. 

As per the recent counts, JIgnesh is leading by more than 3,000 votes against his closest contender Manibhai Vaghela. 

In the early stage of the election Jigensh was trailing throughout and it was expected that Vaghela magic will work in favour of BJP. Currently, Jignesh has garnered more than 65,000 votes. 

Jignesh who had shot to fame in 2016 after the flogging of Dalits in Una, Gujarat, won the election from the same constituency with the support of Congress in 2017. 

Congress in 2017 removed Vaghela from Vadgam just to extend its support to Jignesh. Vaghela, who was an MLA from the same seat in 2012 crossed the fence to join BJP recently and got the ruling party’s ticket.

Vadgam is a significant constituency with around 90,000 Muslim votes of its 2 lakh 94 thousand electorate. There are around 44,000 Dalit voters along with 15,000 Rajputs.

Notably, the Congress Dalit leader is not only fighting BJP, he is also contesting AIMIM and AAP. AIMIM fielded Kalpesh Sundhia as its candidate and was expected to cut away Muslim votes of Jignesh.

Jignesh who is considered as a popular leader of Dalits in Gujarat during his campaign raised the issue of unemployment and price rise.

His continuous support for Bilkis Bano in the context of the remission of 11 convicts didn’t however come up much during his campaign. While talking to PTI, Jignesh said that though Congress supports Bilkis Bano’s demands they didn’t want it to use as a poll plank.

Jignesh Mevani had been arrested earlier for his comments against Prime Minister in social media. After spending nine days in an Assam jail when he was granted bail, a lower court in Mehsana convicted him and sent to three months’ jail for organising a rally in 2017 without proper police permission.

The dissenter image of Jignesh though gave him an edge in 2017 with the support of Congress, this time it is seemingly not that much working in his favour. The political analysts note that the internal crack within Congress has resulted in such consequences as Vaghela has been an old party leader with a substantive base on the ground.