Chhotubhai Vasava, the Rebel Janata Dal (United) MLA from Gujarat and the acting President of the Sharad Yadav-led faction of the Janata Dal (United) had confirmed his alliance with the Congress party on 28 October for the upcoming state assembly elections, after meeting Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi in Delhi.
He had stated that his party would contest the election in alliance with the Congress. Though, at that point in time, they had not discussed the seats-sharing. His agenda was clear that his party wanted benefits for the poor tribals and wanted to fight for their rights.
Vasava is a close aide to Sharad Yadav who has not been very happy with Nitish Kumar’s support to BJP. There was a split between Sharad and Nitish after a spate of incidents. The Janata Dal-United (JD-U) faction led by Sharad Yadav elected Gujarat MLA Chhotubhai Vasava as its acting president after the split.
Vasava has been supportive of Congress and voted for Senior Congress Leader and political secretary to Sonia Gandhi, Ahmed Patel in the Rajya Sabha elections from Gujarat. This came to BJP as a shocker as they were under the impression that Vasava was on their side. The real picture was disclosed only when Ahmed Patel visited Vasava’s house to thank him for his vote. It was then, that it came out in the open that he was all game for Congress. This one vote of Vasava was considered as the game changer.
Vasava is an old warhorse and has won consecutive assembly elections in 1990, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2007 and 2012. He won the Jhagadia seat in Bharuch District of central Gujarat on a JD(U) ticket in 2007 and 2012. Before this, he had won the seat on Gujarat Adivasi Vikas Paksh ticket. He had formed the GAVP with the aim of representing tribals in the Gujarat Assembly.
Now, that Vasava has a big hand in Ahmed Patel’s win, he has asked for 20 seats from the Congress. Vasava’s JD(U) faction has a huge influence in Dahod, Chhota Udepur, Tapi and Valsad districts which are predominantly tribal areas and is in alliance with the Congress in two district panchayats (Bharuch and Narmada) and five taluka panchayats in these two districts.
It has yet not been disclosed as to how many seats will Vasava be allotted as senior Congress leaders feel that his space of influence is restricted to only Bharuch and Narmada.