How delimitation has affected the reserved assembly seats? Ask Faldu, Nitin Patel, Pradipsinh or read this

By Japan K Pathak

Ahmedabad, 8 August 2012

This is the fifth article of JP’s ‘Gujarat Election 2012′ series on DeshGujarat. In this series, the first article was about the possible election schedule, the second article made the point that Gujarat elections in 2012 are incomparable with Gujarat assembly elections of the past. The third article was about abolished seats. The fourth article was about newly added seats. Now here is the fifth article and it is about changes in the list of reserved seats for SC/STs. In the next article we will dissect the final delimitation order.

Let’s move ahead further in discussing the delimitation order. As per the new delimitation order, there are 26 reserved seats for Schedule Castes (SC or backward class or Harijan candidates) and 13 reserved seats for Scheduled Tribes (ST or tribal candidates). Under the old delimitation the number of reserved seats for SCs was the same – 13, but ST seats were 27 – one more compared to the new delimitation. Thus the total seats reserved for SC/STs are now 39 compared to the earlier figure of 40.

First let’s have a look at the reserved constituencies for SCs in 2007 as per the old delimitation: Mundra, Dasada, Rajkot rural, Jamnagar rural, Keshod, Gadhada, Bavla, Shaherkotda, Jotana, Vadgam, Sojitra, Karjan and Idar.

And then let’s see the latest list of reserved seats for SCs as per the new delimitation (which will take effect from Dec 2012): Gandhidham, Vadgam, Kadi, Idar, Dasada, Rajkot rural, Kalavad, Kodinar, Vadodara city, Bardoli, Gadhada, Asarwa, Danilimda.

Let’s analyze the list. Vadgam continues to be a reserved seat, same with Idar, Dasada,Rajkot rural and Gadhada seats.

Jotana, Mundra, Shaherkotda and Bavla seats no longer exist as per the new delimitation order.

Mundra’s reserved seat status has been allotted to neighboring Gandhidham assembly seat. Shaherkotda is an abolished seat, but its SC status has been forwarded to neighboring Asarwa seat. Asarwa was earlier a general category seat. Similarly, Jamnagar rural’s SC status has been forwarded to Kalavad which was earlier a general category seat. Jotana seat has been abolished and it has been replaced with Bechraji seat, but Jotana’s SC status has been forwarded to neighboring Kadi seat which earlier was a general category seat.

Karjan, Sojitra and Keshod are no longer reserved for SCs. This means candidates from any caste can contest the elections this time on these seats.

Gujarat BJP President and Kalavad MLA RC Faldu, senior minister and Kadi MLA Nitin Patel and junior minister and Asarwa MLA Pradipsinh Jadeja are three people who can no longer contest the elections from their existing constituencies. While Faldu and Nitinbhai are Patels, Jadeja is Kshatriya. Their general category seats are now reserved seats where only Schedule Caste candidates can contest.

For Nitin Patel, Kadi was a border margin seat, thanks to the Thakor vs Patel caste factor. Nitinbhai had lost Kadi seat in the past, but gained it back by a narrow margin in 2007. So far the new delimitation order is bad news for Nitinbhai because he will not be able to contest from his traditional seat Kadi. But the same delimitation order can turn fruitful for Nitinbhai if the party agrees to allow him to contest from a safer seat in Amdavad.

Pradipsinh Jadeja and RC Faldu – two general category candidates whose seats are now declared reserved for SC candidates have been regular winners on their seats by very high margins. Jadeja is too junior and does not have the wherewithal to pick and choose, or demand some seat. It is the party that will decide his political future. There’s no doubt that his strength will be used well by the party.

RC Faldu is the Gujarat BJP President. He has spent his entire political life in Jamnagar district, and fielding him from any seat that is not located in Jamnagar district would look improper. Faldu hails from the Leuva Patel community, and there are several Leuva Patel dominated seats in Saurashtra where Faldu can be placed as a candidate. Alternatively (and more likely) Faldu can be nominated to the Rajya Sabha in March 2013. As we said aldu has spent his entire political life in Jamangar district from where a Congress MP has been elected to the Lok Sabha for the past two terms. One of the reasons why Faldu was chosen for the post of party chief was that he was from Jamnagar, a place where the BJP badly needed a leader. It is therefore also possible that Faldu may fight Lok Sabha elections in 2014 from Jamnagar seat. The party has several options for Faldu, and all are good for him.

Now let’s move to the details of seats reserved for Schedule Tribes (ST).

In 2007 Gujarat had 26 seats reserved for STs, and they were: Umbergaon, Pardi, Mota Pondha, Dharampur, Chikhli, Navsari, Kamrej, Bardoli, Dang Bansda, Mahuva, Vyara, Songadh, Mangrol, Nizar, Rajpipla, Dediapada, Jhagadia, Sankheda, Nasvadi, Chhota Udaipur, Randhikpur, Khedbrahma, Jhalod, Dahod, Limdi and Limkheda.

And now as per the new delimitation order of 2012, the 27 reserved seats for STs are: Umbergaon, Kaprada, Dharampur, Vansda, Gandevi, Dangs, Nizar, Vyara, Mahuva, Mandvi, Mangrol, Jhagadia, Dediapada, Nandod, Sankheda, Jetpur, Chhota Udaipur, Garbada, Dahod, Limkheda, Jhalod, Fatepura, Morva Hadaf, Santrampur, Bhiloda, Khedbrahma and Danta.

So Umbergaon, Dharampur, Vansda, Dangs (earlier Dang Bansda was one seat, now Dangs and Vansda are two different seats), Vyara, Mahuva, Mangrol, Nizar, Dediapada, Jhagadia, Sankheda, Chhota Udaipur, Khedbrahma, Dahod, Limkheda, Jhalod continue to be ST seats.

Kaprada, Gandevi, Mandvi, Nandod, Jetpur, Garbada, Fatepura, Morva Hadaf, Santrampur, Bhiloda are new ST seats.

Pardi, Mota Pondha, Chikhli, Navsari, Kamrej, Bardoli, Songadh, Rajpipla, Nasvadi, Randhikpur, Limdi have ceased to exist in the list of the seats reserved for STs. Of them Mota Pondha has become Kaprada seat. Chikhli has merged with Gandevi and Vansda seats. Songadh merges with Mandvi and Nizar. Rajpipla becomes Nandod seat. Nasvadi merges with Sankheda. Limdi merges with Dahod and Fatepura. Randhikpur merges with Morva Hadap, Santrampur and Limkheda. Meghraj merges with Bhiloda.

Pardi has been converted into a general category seat, same as Navsari and Kamrej. That means in these three seats, any category candidate can contest. Bardoli has been converted into an SC reserved seat. Congress’s existing ST MLA Kuvarjibhai Halpati will therefore have to search for a new seat. Thus Kvarjibhai is one more MLA to join the list of RC Faldu, Pradipsinh and Nitin Patel. The case of Parmar Paranjayadityasinhji, sitting MLA of Santrampur is similar – his seat is now reserved for an ST candidate / under ST category.

So here is the end of the fourth article on the new delimitation order and its impact. You read about abolished seats, newly added seats, and changes in reserved category seats. But don’t be under the impression that seats retaining their names and status are untouched. They too have undergone major changes in terms of the areas they contain. In fact MLAs and ministers representing such seats are in some cases more worried than those whose seats are completely abolished. Ask that technocrat minister or that powerful lady minister. Their seats may continue to exist with the same name but some cut-paste in geography is giving them sleepless nights. We saw examples of such seats – Vagra, Jambusar, Ankleshwar, Bharuch, Junagadh, Visavdar, Khadia, Lathi, Savarkundla etc in the second article of this series. There are many more such examples, and they will be discussed in the future too in relevant articles in this series. We will publish the final delimitation draft in the next article and will then move on to other subjects in this series.

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