With counting still underway in Gujarat Assembly elections on Thursday, 8 December, former independent MLA and Congress candidate Jignesh Mevani retained his seat in Vadgam.
The leader managed to bag a total of 94,765 votes with a vote share 48 per cent.
The Dalit leader won by a margin of 4,922 votes, beating Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Manibhai Jethabhai Vaghela, who garnered 89,837 votes. AAP candidate Dalpat Bhatia had also contested the seat.
Why is this significant? The Vadgam constituency in the Banaskantha district is a seat reserved for people belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SC), and holds a largely Dalit and Muslim population. The electorate also includes people belonging to the Thakor, Darbar, and Chaudhary communities.
What was the verdict in 2017? Mevani, supported by the Congress, won the seat on an Independent ticket during the 2017 Assembly elections. Independents won only three seats that year.
Mevani had then unseated Vaghela, who served as the Congress MLA from the seat from 2012 to 2017. On 24 April this year, Congress leader Manilal Vaghela joined the BJP.
In 2017, he was denied a ticket after the party decided to not field a candidate and instead support Mevani.