A 40-year-old TV journalist turned politician Isudan Gadhvi has been declared as the Chief Ministerial face of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Gujarat ahead of the State Assembly polls.
He is the national joint general secretary of the AAP and its main campaigner in the State, crisscrossing the length and breadth of the sprawling State addressing public meetings, and holding roadshows and rallies across the State.
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Delhi CM and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal announced Mr. Gadhvi’s name as the party’s CM face in the crucial State elections where AAP has turned its focus to challenge the ruling BJP in its strongest bastion.
Mr. Gadhvi joined the AAP last year, taking a political plunge after quitting as editor of VTV, a local Gujarat news channel where his evening show Mahamanthan became a hugely popular news program in the State.
He is from the Saurashtra region and belongs to the Gadhvi community, which falls in the OBC category in the State, and hails from a modest family of farmers. In Gujarat, Gadhvis are mainly farmers and cattle-rearing communities in Saurashtra, North and Central Gujarat districts.
“A humble farmer’s son like me has been given such a huge responsibility because of Arvind Kejriwal’s politics,” said Mr. Gadhvi in a speech amidst tears in his eyes.
He told media persons that as a journalist, he tried to give voice to the voiceless like farmers, contractual employees of the State and others, whose voices remained unheard for years.
“When Arvind Ji called me, he asked if I was ready to clean the dirt. If you want to change the system, you have to enter the dirt to clean it and I decided to be part of Arvind Ji’s movement to clean the system,” he said.
Announcing his name, Mr. Kejriwal said that as many as 16 lakh people participated in the survey the AAP conducted regarding its CM face and 73% suggested Mr. Gadhvi’s name.
Earlier in Surat, Mr. Kejriwal had announced that the AAP would conduct an online survey and based on the same, it would name its CM face for the State.
“Today, I would like to ask the people of Gujarat who they want to see as the next CM of Gujarat. To know the opinion of the public, we are releasing a number - 6357000 360. You can send SMS, WhatsApp messages, and leave voice messages. We are also releasing e-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org,” Mr. Kejriwal said.
Another person in the race was Gopal Italia, the president of AAP’s Gujarat unit, a 33-year-old former police constable, who had hurled a shoe at Gujarat’s Junior Home Minister Pradipsinh Jadeja before quitting the government service to take a political plunge.
Mr. Kejriwal has arrived in the State for campaigning and is expected to hold around a dozen rallies in the next few days across the State where Assembly polls were declared on Thursday.
Gujarat goes for the polls in two phases on December 1 and 5, and counting will be held on December 8.