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Electoral heat in Kheda: Incumbent MP Chauhan takes on Congress veteran Dabhi

IANS | April 20, 2024 12:42 PM

KHEDA: As the Lok Sabha elections draw near, the Kheda constituency in Gujarat has become a focal point of political activities, with the BJP and the Congress gearing up for another electoral showdown.

Kheda has been an influential area in Gujarat's political scene, being the birthplace of India's first Deputy Prime Minister, Vallabhbhai Patel, and famous for its tobacco farming.

The constituency, known for its historical significance and vibrant political landscape, is set to witness a contest between incumbent MP Devusinh Jesingbhai Chauhan of the BJP and Congress candidate Kalusinh Dabhi.

Chauhan, currently serving as the Minister of State for Communications, has been a prominent figure in Gujarat politics, representing Kheda in the 17th Lok Sabha.

Chauhan's political journey in this region began with a significant victory in the 2014 General Election, where he secured the seat as a BJP candidate.

His continued success was evident in the 2019 elections, where he won with an overwhelming margin of 367, 145 votes, obtaining a total of 714, 572 votes.

His closest competitor, Bimal Shah from the Congress, garnered 347, 427 votes.

Earlier, Devusinh made headlines for urging the observation of a "no-meat" day in Kheda on January 22 to coincide with the consecration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

A memorandum Chauhan submitted to the District Collector on January 11, 2024 stated, “It is after 500 years that a temple dedicated to Lord Shri Ram is being rebuilt and it has brought delight to residents of Kheda along with the citizens of the entire country… Therefore, several institutions and individuals have made representations before me requesting that meat shops across the district be closed for one day. The district administration is requested to issue directives for the closure of meat shops in Kheda on January 22, considering the sentiments of the people.”

On the other side, the Congress has placed its hopes on Kalusinh Dabhi, a seasoned politician with deep roots in the local community.

Dabhi, 66, began his political career as a Sarpanch (village head) and rose to prominence within the Congress, eventually serving as the President of the Kathlal Taluka unit.

He also represented Kapadvanj in the state legislature, having won the 2017 state polls by over 27, 000 votes.

Kheda, also known by its historical name Kaira, is not just a political battleground but a city rich in cultural and agricultural heritage.

The constituency is strategically essential, comprising seven Assembly segments including Daskroi, Dholka, Matar, Nadiad, Mahudha, and Kapadvanj.

Kheda has a notable Jat population, predominantly in select districts such as Banaskantha, Mehsana, Sabarbantha, and Kutch.

The Jain religion is particularly prominent in Kheda, reflecting a well-established and flourishing community.

The Chauhan clan is predominantly represented among the Rajput community in the district.

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