Lotus blooming at Bapu’s birthplace
Porbandar has historical significance for the Congress. However, now the BJP also talks about following the ideals of Gandhiji. In 1960 Gujarat became a new state and in 1962 assembly elections were held here. In the first three elections, the Congress captured the Porbandar seat. But the picture changed in the 1975 elections. Jana Sangh’s Vasanji Kheraj wrested this seat from the Congress. Porbandar could not maintain the priceless legacy of Gandhiji. Congress won again in 1980 and 1985. But in 1990, Shashikant Lakhani of Janata Dal defeated Congress. In 1995 and 1998, BJP’s Babubhai Bokhiria won. Arjun Modwadia of Congress was elected MLA in 2002 and 2007. But after this, BJP’s Babubhai Bokhiriya is the MLA of Borbandar for the last two elections. In the 2022 elections, apart from the BJP and the Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party is also in the fray.
The dust of time on the pride of Gujarat
Porbandar is in the south of Gujarat and is a seaside town. The house where Mahatma Gandhi was born is now a national monument known as Kirti Mandir. Kirti Mandir is located on Kasturba Marg of Old Bhatia Bazar. Now this area has become congested. Everyday hundreds of people come to visit Bapu’s birthplace. The beach (Arabian Sea) is only 550 meters away from this ancestral home of Mahatma Gandhi. Not only this, Porbandar is also the birthplace of Sudama ji. Lord Krishna and his best friend Sudama are worshiped together in the Krishna-Sudama temple here. This proud identity of Porbandar is now gathering dust due to various reasons. Due to being a coastal area, gangs of smugglers became active in Porbandar. Because of this, gang wars used to happen. Politics is also divided into caste and community. Babubai Bokhiriya and Arjun Madwadia belong to the Mer (Kshatriya) community. In the last election, Bokhiriya was able to win by a small margin of only 1855 votes. Mer, fisherman, Brahmin and Koli voters play a decisive role in the elections here.
caste politics in porband
Being a coastal area, there is a sizeable population of fishermen community. This is the second largest electorate of Porbandar. Gujarat is a major fish producing state of India. Gujarat contributes 20 per cent to the total fish production of the country. About one and a half lakh people have got employment from the fish business in Gujarat. The fishermen community consists of several caste groups such as Kharwas, Mohila Koli, Machhi, Wagher, Gohel, Selar etc. These castes are very important in elections. In 2017 elections, Anandbhai Maru of BSP got 4337 votes. It is believed that Anandbhai had the support of fishermen and Dalit voters. Congress’s Arjun Modwadia lost the election due to so many votes being cut. He was defeated by only 1855 votes while Anandbhai got more than four thousand votes. In this way, we can see that no matter how much development is talked about in Gujarat, victory or defeat in elections depends only on caste arithmetic.
AAP’s eye on fisherman voters
In the 2017 assembly elections, Rahul Gandhi came here for campaigning. Then he had said that the overthrow of the BJP rule would begin from Bapu’s birthplace itself. But the Congress not only lost the Porbandar seat, it did not even get power. In 2022, the Congress hopes to return to Porbandar this time. But now you can become an obstacle in his path to victory. Jeevan Jungi, who has been nominated by AAP, is the president of the Porbandar Boat Association. He has deep penetration in the fishermen community. Obviously the standing of Jeevan Jungi will lead to division in the votes of the fishermen community. This time the fishermen community is unhappy with the BJP for many reasons. 550 fishermen from Gujarat are lodged in Pakistani jails. More than one thousand boats are in Pakistan’s possession. He alleges that the Government of India did not help him in this matter. They did not even get boat parking facility at Porbandar port. Fishermen had also organized a rally in Porbandar regarding this. Congress wanted to take advantage of this resentment of fishermen. But Arvind Kejriwal has given a blow to this hope of Congress by making Jeevan Jungi a candidate.