AHMEDABAD: Muslim community members turned up in large numbers in chief ministerVijay Rupani
‘s maiden ‘Gujarat Gaurav Maha-Sampark Abhiyan’ roadshow which took off fromKhadia-Jamalpur
Rupani began his first direct voter contact on the campaign trail for 2017 assembly elections. Twin slogans of ‘Allah-hu-Akbar’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ rent the air as a large number of Muslims joined Rupani’s campaign in the constituency which has 62 per cent Muslim voters. The CM walked the meandering bylanes snaking across every nook of the more than 600-year-old Walled City, accepting greetings on the way from men and women.
Interestingly, the CM’s campaign trail received a response that was more overwhelming in Muslimdominated Jamalpur than even in the Hindu-dominated Khadia area.
It was in 2009 that Jamalpur and Khadia were merged into one constituency after delimitation. “The warm response from the Muslim community in Jamalpur is proof that they have accepted PM Modi and BJP’s ‘Sauno Saath, Sauno Vikas’ mantra,” Rupani said. He added, “Muslims have understood that they have been used by Congress as vote bank.”
Most of those present at Rupani’s rally belonged to the Chippas, Bohras, Sargara and other Muslim groups. Samina Chippa, a home maker who came to greet Rupani said, “We are happy that for the first time a CM has visited our area. We hope that our area will get development.”
There are 1.97 lakh voters in the constituency of which 98,000 are Hindus, mainly concentrated in Raikhad and Khadia municipal wards, which are BJP’s traditional vote bank.
Back in 2012, BJP’s Bhushan Bhatt won from this seat by a margin of 6,331 votes. The Congress candidate, Samir Sipai, had polled 41,727 votes, but BJP took the lead after a former Congressman and independent candidate, Sabir Kabliwala, polled 30,513 votes and cut into Congress’s expected vote share.