Guj polls: Leader of Oppn to face Odedara

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Porbandar, Dec 10: The fight for the Assembly seat in Porbandar, the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, appears on paper to be a one-sided contest as Leader of the Opposition Arjun Modhwadia will take on a greenhorn, Shantaben Odedara.

Shantaben, wife of Bharat Odedara, an accused in the mining theft case and now currently out on bail, however is quite confident of putting up a tough fight.

She says that the charges against her husband will not affect her and the development achieved under the BJP regime and her family's social work will see her through.

As for Modhwadia, it has been a meteoric rise, with his chance elevation as Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly after the demise of party veteran Amarsinh Chaudhary.

Though he was a first-time member, Modhwadia was chosen as the leader of the Congress legislature party in October 2004, over several other senior legislators.

Babubhai Bokaria, BJP's muscleman and former minister, who Modhwadoa had defeated last time, is now lodged in jail in connection with the multi-crore mining scam.

In the last hustings, Modhwadia had scraped through with a win over Babubhai Bokharia by just 4,400 votes, but in the 1998 elections, had lost his deposit.

Porbandar this time has the highest number of 15 candidates in the fray, of which 11 are Independents. BSP's Mansukh Sundaraji Dhokai and Samwadi Party's Arvind Ranchod Joshi are also trying their luck for the seat. Among the contestants, Pintu Bhadrecha and Bhoja Parmar, both 26, are the youngest.

A former Army Major Ketan Mehta is also in the fray.

Elections in the land of the Mahatma, also considered a haven for the mines and minerals mafia, for years had the influence of Godmother Santokben Jadeja, who appears to be lying low. The BJP takes the credit for ending 'goondaraj' in the region.

The fishermen community, which forms a sizeable number in the constituency, is quite upset with the political parties for not taking up its issues like better infrastructure and security against seizure and arrests by the Pakistan Navy when they venture out into the Arabian Sea.

The other dominant community of the district's population is the Mer community to which both Shantaben and Modhwadia belong.

Other problems of water, roads, unemployment have been the dominant election issues.

Total voters in Porbandar constituency is 1,67,283 of whom 86,156 voters are women.


UNI

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