The Aam Aadmi Party's Gujarat president, Gopal Italia, lost the election from the Katargam constituency as the results for the state's 2022 Assembly elections were declared on Thursday, 8 December.
He was defeated by BJP's Vinodbhai Amarshibhai Moradiya by a margin of 64,627 votes.
Besides him, two other AAP candidates from the Surat belt itself lost in their constituencies. While Alpesh Katheria lost the seat for Varachha Road constituency in Surat to BJP's Kishor Kanani Kumar, Dharmik Malaviya lost the Olpad seat to BJP’s Mukeshbhai Patel.
More about Gopal Italia: Italia, the state president of the AAP, had risen to prominence during the 2015 Patidar agitation.
Formerly a Gujarat police officer, Italia has risen swiftly within the party. In the same year of him being made the vice-president of the Gujarat AAP, he was promoted to the post of president. Under his leadership, the party had won more than two dozen seats in the Surat municipal polls.
Source of his popularity: But the source of his popularity is more than just the Patidar agitation. "During the 2021 Saurashtra floods, Italia was in the water helping people. He ensured they got food, that they got shifted to safe locations. Gopalbhai even campaigned against unemployment in the state," Nikhil Savani, vice-president of the Aam Aadmi Party Youth Wing-Gujarat, told The Quint.
Recent controversy: He was recently embroiled in a controversy surrounding a video in which he allegedly made derogatory remarks against Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi. National Commission of Women Chairperson Rekha Sharma had even summoned Italia for allegedly using "abusive and indecent language" against PM Modi.
History of the constituency: In 2017, the seat was won by the BJP's Vinodbhai Amarshibhai Moradiya, who had garnered 70 percent votes, followed by Congress leader Jignesh Jivani who had won 20 percent of the vote.
Even in the 2012 elections, BJP’s Vanani Nanubhai Bhagavanbhai had defeated the Congress party's Pandav Nandlal Kalabhai by more than 40,000 votes.
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