Isudan Gadhvi, the Aam Aadmi Party’s chief minister candidate in the 2022 Gujarat Assembly election, voted at a polling station in Ahmedabad on Monday afternoon. The former TV news anchor and social activist was named the AAP’s CM face early last month – after party boss Arvind Kejriwal called on Gujarat voters to phone in and select their own leader. Kejriwal said Gadhvi, 40, had claimed 73 per cent of the votes and so, ‘on the wishes of the people of Gujarat’ the party’s national general secretary was named its chief ministerial face.
Gadhvi spoke to reporters after casting his vote and joined other political figures in urging those eligible to cast their votes; the first phase saw just 63.14 per cent turnout, prompting the Election Commission to launch appeals.
“I appeal to people to vote… choose whoever you want but you will be able to demand answers from political leaders only if you vote,” he said and predicted a win for the AAP.
“I expect AAP to win 51+ of 89 seats in first phase and 52+ in second.”
Full coverage: 2022 Gujarat Assembly election
The second and final phase of voting began this morning – the first round was on December 1 – with 93 of the state’s 182 Assembly seats in play. Results are due on December 8.
The prime minister (and his mother Heeraben and brother Somabhai), union home minister Amit Shah, chief minister Bhupendra Patel, ex Congress leader (and now BJP lawmaker hopeful) Hardik Patel were among the big names exercising their franchise.
The AAP’s Gadhvi has been vocal in his attacks on the BJP since being named his party’s face for this election. Last week he hit out over the leaked videos controversy surrounding colleague Satyendar Jain – in Delhi’s Tihar Jail in connection with a money laundering case.
He declared the leaked clips of Jain getting ‘special treatment’ in prison were part of the BJP’s ‘conspiracy’ to insult Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP leaders.
The AAP – which cantered to a shock win in Punjab earlier this year – is hoping to spring an even bigger shock in Gujarat, which is prime minister Narendra Modi’s home state, where the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has been in power for nearly three decades now.
The 2022 Gujarat election was pitched as a straight fight between the ruling party and the Congress, but with the latter in (seemingly) continual disarray, many see the AAP as the BJP’s biggest challenger. That view, though, was dismissed by senior leaders like union minister Amit Shah, who insist the Congress is the biggest threat to an unprecedented seventh term.
With input from ANI