Real-estate developers, a businessman, and a junior clerk in a village school are among the crorepati candidates contesting in the upcoming by-elections to six assembly seats in Gujarat on October 21.
Congress’ Radhanpur candidate is builder Raghunath Desai, among the wealthiest of those in the fray, with assets of over Rs 100 crore. Desai and his family own five cars, a revolver costing Rs 5 lakh and agricultural land in Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Patan and Mehsana districts. The most crucial fight of these bypolls is expected to be between him and BJP candidate Alpesh Thakor who left the Congress after cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha polls earlier this year. Alpesh and his family own assets of over Rs 2 crore.
In Amraiwadi seat of Ahmedabad city, it is expected to be a straight fight between another real-estate developer and a businessman. The seat had fallen vacant after BJP MLA Hasmukh Patel got elected to the Lok Sabha from Ahmedabad East constituency earlier this year. While the ruling BJP is fielding businessman Jagdish Patel, director of Ahmedabad-based Pushpak Trademech Limited, the Congress is putting up real-estate developer Dharmendra Patel. Both are crorepatis.
While Jagdish and his wife Kalpanaben — who is also a director in the gear manufacturing firm — own assets of over Rs 2 crore, Dharmendra and wife Meenaben own assets of over Rs 8 crore. While the BJP candidate states in his affidavit that he owns just a Mahindra Scorpio and has a share in ancestral agricultural land worth Rs 5 lakh in Mehsana, the Congress candidate states that he owns eight commercial shops in Maninagar (Ahmedabad) and Anand, and has three cars, including an Audi and a Toyota Fortuner.
While Jagdish owns 11,35,000 shares in Pusphak Trademech and his wife owns 75,000 shares, and he earns an income from the company, Dharmendra Patel says his income comes from the construction business and renting out property, while his wife earns from private tuitions, apart from also getting rental income.
Dhavalsinh Zala, a close aide of Alpesh who also shifted to the BJP recently, will be fighting from Bayad seat. He owns assets of over Rs 7 crore while his Congress rival Shivabhai Patel has assets of close to Rs 2 crore.
Similarly, Congress candidate from Lunawada seat, Gulabsinh Chauhan who describes himself as a junior clerk at Kasturba Vidyalaya has assets close to Rs one crore. He also owns vehicles like Tata Spacio and Maruti Ertiga. As for Tharad BJP candidate Jivraj Patel, despite assets worth Rs 1.5 crore, a Sonalika tractor is the only vehicle he owns.
By-elections to the assembly seats of Tharad, Kheralu, Amraiwadi and Lunavada were announced as sitting MLAs won the Lok Sabha elections and vacated their seats. The Radhanpur and Bayad seats fell vacant after then sitting Congress MLAs Alpesh and Dhvalsinh resigned from the party and joined the BJP.