As BJP hopes to retain Vadodara, Congress determined to give a fight

Vadodara, Apr 18 (IANS): The political landscape of Vadodara, one of the prominent Lok Sabha constituencies in Gujarat, will witness a straight fight between the BJP and Congress candidates.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has held a firm grip on this seat, recently faced an unexpected twist when the incumbent MP, Ranjan Bhatt, announced her decision not to contest the upcoming elections. Citing personal reasons, Bhatt's departure has paved the way for new faces to emerge.

Dr. Hemang Joshi, the newly announced BJP candidate, is a youthful figure in Vadodara's political scene. At under 40 years of age, he brings a fresh perspective to the table. Joshi holds significant positions such as the Vice Chairman of the School Board of Vadodara Municipal Corporation and has a rich background in academia and community service.

His academic credentials include a PhD in leadership from the Faculty of Social Work at Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara. Dr Joshi is also known for his involvement in various international forums and his leadership in the Vallabh Youth Organization (VYO).

Representing the Congress, Jashpalsinh Mahendrasinh Padhiyar steps up as the opposition's candidate. At 41, Padhiyar is deeply rooted in the local community through his engagement in the agriculture, transportation, and business sectors. His candidacy signifies the Congress' efforts to regain its historical influence in a constituency that has seen BJP dominance since the late 1990s.

Vadodara's electoral significance dates back to its first elections in 1957, initially known as Baroda during the Bombay State era. The constituency was later renamed to Vadodara following the 2009 elections. It has been a battleground for various political shifts and comprises seven Vidhan Sabha segments within the Vadodara district.

The seat has a royal lineage in its political representation, with Fatehsinghrao Gaekwad of the Congress being its first MP and serving until 1980, with a brief interruption by P.C. Patel of the Swatantra Party in 1967. The Gaekwad family's influence continued with Ranjitsinh Pratapsinh Gaekwad taking over until 1989.

The BJP's dominance began in 1998 with Jayaben Thakkar and continued with Balkrishna Khanderao Shukla. The most notable event in recent political history of the constituency was PM Narendra Modi's election in 2014, where he won by a massive margin. He secured 8,45,464 votes out of the total 11.63 lakh votes polled in Vadodara although he vacated this seat to retain Varanasi.

As Vadodara prepares for the 2024 elections, the focus is on how the new candidates will influence the constituency's future. Dr Hemang Joshi, with his academic and social background, and Jashpalsinh Mahendrasinh Padhiyar, with his local connections and business acumen, are set to provide the voters with distinct choices.



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Title: As BJP hopes to retain Vadodara, Congress determined to give a fight

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