<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the Dwarkadish temple in Dwarka before his three-day campaign of Saurashtra region in September is being viewed as an attempt to play the soft-Hindutva card to woo voters, it does not seem to have left much of an impact among voters here in the run-up to the Assembly polls. Pabubha Virambha Manek of the BJP, who quit the Congress in 2007, is seeking his seventh consecutive term from the Dwarka constituency, and is up against Congress candidate Meraman Goriya, who voters here largely perceive as an unknown quantity.The end of six consecutive terms brings with it the challenge of battling anti-incumbency, but Manek seems unfazed. “Even Amitabh Bachchan was a young man loved by everyone when he came onto the scene first. He’s grown older, but that has not affected his popularity, has it? He’s still doing good work, and enjoys a massive fan following. Similarly, I have been able to maintain my image over the years,” he says.“Meraman is not known here. He was an MLA in Khambalia, and was given a ticket here for the first time. He will not be able to spoil my chances,” added Manek.Manek won the Dwarka seat in 1990, 1995 and 1998 as an independent candidate, before emerging victorious on a Congress ticket in 2002. He was re- elected after switching over to the BJP in 2007.While he says he will be re-elected on the back of development in his constituency over the past two decades, and claims water supply, roads and healthcare facilities in Dwarka have improved significantly during his tenure, the Congress has been pointing to struggles faced by farmers in claiming crop insurance under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.“Farmers are facing a very bad situation here. Thousands are not being given their dues under the crop insurance scheme with payments stuck as their claims are not being processed. This is hurting them badly, and the present government has done nothing to solve their problems,” Goriya says. “Rahul ji’s visit to Dwarka certainly helped boost the morale of party workers and the assurances he made about solving farmers’ issues will certainly bring votes our way.”The general sentiment among locals, however, is that Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the Dwarkadish temple will not affect the fortunes of the Congress in Dwarka. Many feel the Congress should have fielded a stronger candidate to take on Manek.“He (Rahul) prayed at the temple, met a small group of people and then rode off on the highway for Hanjrapur. He did not have a proper rally in Dwarka town or meet people here. What difference will such visits make? People in Dwarka will vote for the BJP candidate Pabubha as people have seen him here for years,” says Batubhai Jakharia, the owner of a small bottling plant.There is palbable disappointment too among some voters over what they perceive as the growing complacency of the incumbent MLA.“Pabubha Manek has had six straight wins here, and this has made him over-confident. He no longer connects with people and has hardly carried out any work. Whatever work is carried out is simply under Central government schemes. People here will cast their votes for BJP because they believe in Narendra Modi, not Pabubha,” says Rajesh Vithlani, a grocery store owner.“Congress should have fielded a stronger candidate here rather than Goriya. In 2012, the Congress candidate Kandoriya Murubhai Ranmalbhai, who is also from the Ahir community like Goriya, was defeated by Manek by around 6,000 votes. Had he been given a ticket here again, he would have given the BJP a tough fight as Manek hardly has any new work to speak of,” says Bharat Jakhariya, a hardware store owner.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Rahul Gandhi’s temple visits may not bear fruit in Dwarka