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Joined Last Year, How Did Isudan Gadhvi Become AAP's Face in Gujarat? 3 Factors

Out of over 16 lakh recommendations that AAP received, 73 percent chose Gadhvi, Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday.

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"I had a good job, a safe job. I would go for outdoor shoots and thousands of people would gather and ask for something to be done for them. People called me a fool when I quit my job. But the day I decided that I want to quit my 'safe' job, I wanted to see what I could really do for the people of Gujarat," said Isudhan Gadhvi after he was declared the chief ministerial candidate for Gujarat by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday, 4 November.

Flanked by AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, party's Gujarat president Gopal Italia, general secretary Manoj Soratihya and other party leaders on stage, a teary-eyed Gadhvi, also a prominent former journalist, hugged his family members after the announcement.

Interestingly, the 'people's pick' as AAP is portraying him to be, Gadhvi officially joined the party only in June last year, unlike Italia and Soratihya who were also in the fray and have been associated with the party for longer.
Out of over 16 lakh recommendations that AAP received, 73 percent chose Gadhvi, Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday.

Isudan Gadhvi hugs family members after being announced as AAP's CM candidate.

(Photo: Aam Aadmi Party)

While addressing the media in Ahmedabad, Kejriwal on Thursday claimed that out of over 16 lakh recommendations that the party received for its 'choose the CM' campaign, 73 percent chose Gadhvi.

So, just a year into the party, what makes him the AAP's CM face and what traits of Gadhvi work for the party in the state? Here's are 3 major factors that work:

Joined Last Year, How Did Isudan Gadhvi Become AAP's Face in Gujarat? 3 Factors

  1. 1. Image of a 'People's' Journalist

    A student of mass communication from the Gujarat Vidyapeeth in 2005, Gadhvi's 16-year-long stint with several media houses is seen as 'people-oriented'.

    Speaking to The Quint, several former colleagues of Gadhvi and local journalists describe Gadhvi as someone who focussed on issues of the people to pose tough questions to those in power, irrespective of their party.

    Out of over 16 lakh recommendations that AAP received, 73 percent chose Gadhvi, Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday.

    Isudan Gadhvi during a 2017 debate on AAP on VTV News channel.

    (Photo: Screenshot/VTV)

    During his stint with ETV Gujarati, Gadhvi is credited with unearthing a Rs 150 crore scam of illegal trees cutting in Dang and Kaprada district, which came as an embarrassment to the state government and made Gadhvi a household name.

    In 2015, Gadhvi took charge of VTV at only 32 and became widely popular in the rural parts of the state with his daily debate show called 'MahaManthan'.

    In his interviews with political leaders, including former CMs and union ministers, Gadhvi was seen as somebody who asked tough questions with politeness and finesse.

    Out of over 16 lakh recommendations that AAP received, 73 percent chose Gadhvi, Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday.

    Pictures from Isudan Gadhvi's interviews with former CM Vijay Rupani and Union Minister Smriti Irani.

    (Photo: Youtube/screenshots)

    Expand
  2. 2. Tapping Into the Rural Voters

    The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) often accuses the AAP of being an 'urban party' in Gujarat that is 'only acing social media tactics with zero ground presence.'

    With the declaration of Gadhvi as the CM, the AAP might be looking to make headway into the rural voters with Gadhvi's image of a 'khedut no patrakaar' (journalist of the rural masses).

    Hailing from Pipaliya village in Devbhumi Dwarka district of Gujarat, Gadhvi's father Kherajbhai was a farmer by profession.

    Out of over 16 lakh recommendations that AAP received, 73 percent chose Gadhvi, Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday.

    Speaking to The Quint, AAP Gujarat spokesperson Yogesh Jadvani said that while most debates in TV newsrooms are driven by politics, Gadhvi brought forth the issues of kheduts, unemployment, education, and healthcare.

    "During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gadhvi saw how hospitals had to shut doors in Gujarat because they were packed with people. Since Gadhvi was a popular journalist, he would get calls from people asking for help with ICU beds and oxygen cylinders from across urban and rural parts of the state. He realised that despite 27 years of the BJP government, the health infrastructure is in shambles. He understood that he has limitations as a journalist when it comes to helping people and that is why he decided to join the AAP," Jadvani claimed.

    Expand
  3. 3. The Gamble of a 'Non-Patidar' Candidate

    A source in the party, on condition of anonymity, said that Gadhvi was chosen over Italia to avoid giving AAP an exclusively Patidar image and instead get a broader youth support.

    However, fielding a non-Patidar as a CM candidate considering the political atmosphere of the state and the role of the community in swaying the narrative in the 2017 Assembly election is being seen as a gamble by many.

    A party functionary from the state, who did not wish to be named, said that the CM candidate doesn't need to be a Patidar for the community to see the injustices they are being subjected to by the BJP and to see how much the AAP has done for them.

    "Gadhvi isn't a Patidar, but Gopal Italia, the state party president is. The Patidars have been accommodated by AAP at the highest possible levels," the functionary said.

    "When the Patidar Ananmat Aandolan Samiti (PAAS) was active from 2015-2017, Isudan was their voice in the state and the community knows that. Moreover, over 70 percent farmers and kheduts are Patidars and they do see Gadhvi as their loudest voice," the functionary added.

    Dharmik Malviya, a former PAAS convener from Surat who joined the AAP last week, said that Gadhvi is the choice of the people and AAP respecting that choice shows that it's here to change the course of Gujarat politics.

    Malviya further said that as much as the Patidar factor matters for the 2022 elections, the issues of unemployment, healthcare, and education will play an equally important role.

    "For seven years, compensation is being asked for those who died in the Patidar protests, the demands for withdrawing cases against the protesters are still pending, but the BJP is doing nothing," Malviya said.

    "Three CMs have changed, various promises have been made, but the BJP looks into these matters only when elections are around. Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the state government did withdraw cases, but nothing happened after that," Malviya claimed.

    Confident that a Gadhvi's choice will not affect Patidar votes, Malviya further said that the BJP will try to score points among the Patidars by pointing that Gadhvi is not from the community, but they will see right through it.

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

Image of a 'People's' Journalist

A student of mass communication from the Gujarat Vidyapeeth in 2005, Gadhvi's 16-year-long stint with several media houses is seen as 'people-oriented'.

Speaking to The Quint, several former colleagues of Gadhvi and local journalists describe Gadhvi as someone who focussed on issues of the people to pose tough questions to those in power, irrespective of their party.

Out of over 16 lakh recommendations that AAP received, 73 percent chose Gadhvi, Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday.

Isudan Gadhvi during a 2017 debate on AAP on VTV News channel.

(Photo: Screenshot/VTV)

During his stint with ETV Gujarati, Gadhvi is credited with unearthing a Rs 150 crore scam of illegal trees cutting in Dang and Kaprada district, which came as an embarrassment to the state government and made Gadhvi a household name.

In 2015, Gadhvi took charge of VTV at only 32 and became widely popular in the rural parts of the state with his daily debate show called 'MahaManthan'.

In his interviews with political leaders, including former CMs and union ministers, Gadhvi was seen as somebody who asked tough questions with politeness and finesse.

Out of over 16 lakh recommendations that AAP received, 73 percent chose Gadhvi, Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday.

Pictures from Isudan Gadhvi's interviews with former CM Vijay Rupani and Union Minister Smriti Irani.

(Photo: Youtube/screenshots)

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Tapping Into the Rural Voters

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) often accuses the AAP of being an 'urban party' in Gujarat that is 'only acing social media tactics with zero ground presence.'

With the declaration of Gadhvi as the CM, the AAP might be looking to make headway into the rural voters with Gadhvi's image of a 'khedut no patrakaar' (journalist of the rural masses).

Hailing from Pipaliya village in Devbhumi Dwarka district of Gujarat, Gadhvi's father Kherajbhai was a farmer by profession.

Out of over 16 lakh recommendations that AAP received, 73 percent chose Gadhvi, Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday.

Speaking to The Quint, AAP Gujarat spokesperson Yogesh Jadvani said that while most debates in TV newsrooms are driven by politics, Gadhvi brought forth the issues of kheduts, unemployment, education, and healthcare.

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gadhvi saw how hospitals had to shut doors in Gujarat because they were packed with people. Since Gadhvi was a popular journalist, he would get calls from people asking for help with ICU beds and oxygen cylinders from across urban and rural parts of the state. He realised that despite 27 years of the BJP government, the health infrastructure is in shambles. He understood that he has limitations as a journalist when it comes to helping people and that is why he decided to join the AAP," Jadvani claimed.

The Gamble of a 'Non-Patidar' Candidate

A source in the party, on condition of anonymity, said that Gadhvi was chosen over Italia to avoid giving AAP an exclusively Patidar image and instead get a broader youth support.

However, fielding a non-Patidar as a CM candidate considering the political atmosphere of the state and the role of the community in swaying the narrative in the 2017 Assembly election is being seen as a gamble by many.

A party functionary from the state, who did not wish to be named, said that the CM candidate doesn't need to be a Patidar for the community to see the injustices they are being subjected to by the BJP and to see how much the AAP has done for them.

"Gadhvi isn't a Patidar, but Gopal Italia, the state party president is. The Patidars have been accommodated by AAP at the highest possible levels," the functionary said.

"When the Patidar Ananmat Aandolan Samiti (PAAS) was active from 2015-2017, Isudan was their voice in the state and the community knows that. Moreover, over 70 percent farmers and kheduts are Patidars and they do see Gadhvi as their loudest voice," the functionary added.

Dharmik Malviya, a former PAAS convener from Surat who joined the AAP last week, said that Gadhvi is the choice of the people and AAP respecting that choice shows that it's here to change the course of Gujarat politics.

Malviya further said that as much as the Patidar factor matters for the 2022 elections, the issues of unemployment, healthcare, and education will play an equally important role.

"For seven years, compensation is being asked for those who died in the Patidar protests, the demands for withdrawing cases against the protesters are still pending, but the BJP is doing nothing," Malviya said.

"Three CMs have changed, various promises have been made, but the BJP looks into these matters only when elections are around. Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the state government did withdraw cases, but nothing happened after that," Malviya claimed.

Confident that a Gadhvi's choice will not affect Patidar votes, Malviya further said that the BJP will try to score points among the Patidars by pointing that Gadhvi is not from the community, but they will see right through it.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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