It is said that politics makes strange bedfellows. This came true in Gujarat as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the main opposition Congress formalized their alliance for the Gujarat Legislative Assembly elections due to be held in December. In the only Muslim-majority Jamalpur – Khadia seat with 61 % Muslims, the sitting legislator and the jittery Congress candidate Imran Khedawala preferred to sell his conscience to the BJP by praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and declaring that he would never criticize him. He also declared that he is proud that Narendra Modi, a Gujarati is the prime Minister of India.
Imran Khedawala’s new-found love comes after he woke from a deep slumber to realize that Gujarati is the prime minister of India. He lowered his political pants for the BJP to pound him and get rewarded with some Hindu votes in the bargain. This time Imran seems to be in a political soup as his friend-turned-foe Sabir Kabliwala, president, All India Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen, Gujarat Unit, is expected to turn the tables on Imran as he could not get any developmental work done in Jamalpur Khadia. The Aam Admi Party (AAP) is expected to cut into Hindu and some Muslim votes. The BJP candidate Bhushan Bhat had capitalized on the division of Muslim votes in 2012 between Congress candidate Samir Khan Pathan and Sabir Kabliwala, paving the way for BJP’s victory. That had happened as Sabir Kabliwala had contested as an independent after being denied Congress ticket. In 2017, Imran defeated BJP’s Bhushan Bhatt after Sabir Kabliwala withdrew from the contest.
It is an open secret that top Congress leaders whether in Gujarat or in New Delhi report to Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. Whether it is Ghulam Nabi Azad or Jyothiradithya Scindia who have left or Shankersinh Vaghela doing Congress Wapsi, Digvijay Singh and Ashok Gehlot all report to the BJP duo. Digvijay Singh reports to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad also. Shankersinh Vaghela who often flaunts his Jan Sangh – RSS association had turned traitor to stab his benefactor Ahmed Patel, who made him the chief minister. Vaghela had cross-voted along with seven other MLAs against Rajya Sabha nominee Ahmed Patel and later left the party. Ahmed Patel also deceived Sonia Gandhi by fielding weak Congress candidates in the second phase of the elections in 2017 to facilitate the BJP victory. It is another matter that Modi let lose the agencies on Ahmed Patel and did not return his favor. Narendra Modi allegedly used to abuse Ahmed Patel in election rallies by derogatorily addressing Ahmed Patel as Ahmed ‘Miya!’ In 2017, Modi had also scared the Gujarati Hindus that if they do not vote for the BJP then Ahmed Patel – a Muslim would become the chief minister of Gujarat!
Imran Khedawala is fighting with his back to the wall in Jamalpur Khadia. As per the locals who are in the know of things, a deal was allegedly struck that if Imran is helped to get elected by the BJP by transferring the Hindu votes that would otherwise go to Bhushan Bhatt, Imran would facilitate the victory of the BJP in Dariapur, Bapunagar and Danilimda segments where Congress is better placed. Imran’s supporters are allegedly working against the Congress candidate Shailesh Parmar in Danilimda. Imran Khedawala is gripped with his opponents in Congress. His bitter opponent and Congress corporator Shahnawaz Sheikh’s supporters ransacked the Congress party office in Ahmedabad and demanded a change in the candidate in Jamalpur Khadia. The unruly ruffians also smashed senior Congress leader Bharat Solanki’s name plate and spray-painted it. They accused Bharat Solanki of giving ticket to Imran after allegedly benefitting monetarily from him.
One thing is clear that Imran Khedawala is complicit in Narendra Modi’s personal intervention to get the Hindu rapists – murderers – ‘ Sanskari Brahmins’ released even after the spine-chilling murder of Bilkis Banu’s 3 -year old daughter and other family members and the gang-rape of the 5-months pregnant Bilkis Banu.
Jamalpur Khadia is poised for an interesting fight.