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BJP fields cricketer Ravindra Jadeja’s wife in Jamnagar, pins hope on her ‘following, social work’

Rivaba Jadeja joined the BJP in 2019 & replaces sitting MLA Dharmendrasinh Jadeja as the party's face for the Jamnagar (North) seat.

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New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday announced the name of Rivaba Jadeja, wife of cricketer Ravindra Jadeja, as its candidate for the Jamnagar (North) assembly seat in the upcoming Gujarat elections.

Polling for the Gujarat assembly is scheduled to be held next month, and the BJP Thursday announced its first list of candidates for the upcoming elections.

Rivaba replaces sitting MLA Dharmendrasinh Jadeja as the BJP face for the Jamnagar (North) seat, who was denied a party ticket in this election, according to sources. The announcement of Rivaba’s candidature comes at a time when the BJP is fighting anti-incumbency sentiments in Gujarat — the state has been under the BJP for the past 27 years.

The MLA also drew flak from the Gujarat high court Wednesday for his “involvement in mob violence and rioting in 2007, with the court dismissing a plea seeking withdrawal of the case against him and others. The court observed that the state government was trying to save him “anyhow and at any cost” under the pretext of larger public interest.

“This went against the sitting MLA, not only the court verdict, but several complaints by people in the industrial sector against his alleged criminal behaviour,” said a source in BJP.

According to sources within the BJP, the party’s election committee met under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday to finalise the names of the candidates and also decided to drop many sitting MLAs from the list, including  Vijay Rupani, Nitin Patel, former cabinet minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama.

Rivaba, 32, who joined the BJP in 2019, is not a complete stranger to politics, being the niece of Congress leader Hari Singh Solanki. Her sister-in-law, and Ravindra Jadeja’s elder sister, Nayanaba A. Jadeja is a Congress leader — having joined the party in 2019. Rivaba’s father-in-law, Aniruddhsinh Jadeja, had also joined the Congress at the same time.

Speculations are rife that the Congress may announce Nayanaba’s name in opposition to Rivaba’s, in Jamnagar (North), a seat which, sources in the Congress said, is dominated by Rajput voters.

“Since Rivaba has good following (among the people here) and she was active as a social worker, she is right candidate here to win this seat,” said BJP’s Jamnagar district president Vimal Bhai Mothara. .

He added: “Even the prime minister has appreciated Ravindra Jadeja and his wife many times for their contribution in the Ravindra Jadeja and his wife for their contribution in the field of cricket and social work.”

Also readAs BJP promotes new faces, former Gujarat CM Rupani & 3 ex-ministers bow out of poll race

Who is Rivaba Jadeja

Rivaba was born in Rajkot as Richa Solanki in Gujarat’s Rajkot, according to a source close to the family. A trained mechanical engineer, she married Ravindra Jadeja in 2016.

Her father is a businessman, while her father-in-law was formerly in the army. Formerly associated with the Hindutva outfit, the Karni Sena, Rivaba has been active in social work since 2017-18, working among the Rajput community.

“Jadeja’s father wanted him to join the army, but his mother wanted him to become a cricketer”, said the family source. She, however, died when Jadeja was 17 and it was his sister, Nayanaba, who helped him fulfill his mother’s dream.

During the 2022 Indian Premiere League tournament earlier this year, Jadeja dedicated his first win as Chennai Super Kings captain to his wife Raviba, after defeating Royal Challenger Bangalore (RCB).

Rivaba was inducted into the BJP in 2019. She was spotted at a Bhagwat Katha ceremony organised by Dharmendrasinh last month.

Appeal against Dharmendrasinh

The assembly constituency of Jamnagar (North) was created during the delimitation exercise of 2008 and is only 40 kilometres from the district’s Reliance Industries address from the the Reliance Industries address in the district.

The seat was won by Dharmendrasinh Jadeja on a Congress ticket in 2012, but he switched sides to the BJP later and again won the seat in 2017, this time on a BJP ticket.

However, last month YSR Congress Party Rajya Sabha MP and Reliance insider, Parimal Nathwani, appealed to parties against giving tickets to those accused of criminal activities, in a veiled attack on Dharmendrasinh. The MP said since Jamnagar was an industrial town, any candidate representing the constituency should be “clean”.

While the Aam Aadmi Party has announced the name of former deputy mayor of Jamnagar and businessman, Karsanbhai Karmur’s name as its candidate here, Congress is speculated to be thinking of fielding Jadeja’s sister Nayanaba against his wife in Jamnagar (North).

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Also readIn Gujarat, BJP tries to woo a generation that doesn’t remember ‘difficult days’ before Modi


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