BJP is projecting Amrutiya as a hero, as he jumped into the Machchhu river and was in the thick of the rescue efforts after the Morbi bridge collapsed. One hundred and thirty-five people lost their lives in the tragedy, which took place on October 30.
“People are angry over the callous attitude of BJP. The Morbi municipality is yet to hold a condolence meeting for the deceased,” Jayanti said. “Respecting the sentiments of people here, we have not held any rally. Instead we are silently moving among voters, asking after their well-being,” he added.
The 66-year-old is yet to taste poll victory in his political career which began in 1990. He fought elections in 1998, 2002, 2007 and, most recently, in the 2020 bypoll, which he lost to Brijesh Merja, who quit Congress to join BJP. With Merja sidelined this time, Patel is eyeing a win, hoping that the angry locals will vote for change.
There are two other candidates that, like Patel, have not let repeated failure in elections crush their spirit.
Bhikhusinh Parmar, 68, has fought four elections without any win and is hoping to be lucky the fifth time.
He first jumped into the fray from Modasa seat as an independent in 1995 and garnered 13,041 votes, coming third after the BJP and the BSP candidates. In 2002, he fought as an independent again and came third again with 17,596 votes. In 2007, he contested his third election as a BSP candidate, but got only 7,696 votes.
In 2017, he got a BJP ticket to contest from Modasa and put up a strong fight, losing by 1,640 votes. He has once again got a BJP ticket this time.
“I lost the 2017 poll by a wafer-thin margin because of the Patidar and Thakor Sena agitations. This time, there is no such factor and I am sure I will win,” Parmar said.
Jitendra Somani, the third samurai, despite losing assembly polls four times, is raring to score his maiden poll victory this time around. He is the BJP candidate from Wankaner seat. He first contested and lost this seat as an independent to Congress’s Khurshid Pirzada by 1,383 votes in 1995.
In later elections, the BJP fielded his wife Jyotsana Somani, who won in 2002, but lost in 2007. Jitendra Somani again entered the fray in 2012 and 2017, but could not taste victory.