Isudan Gadhvi is Aam Aadmi’s Gujarat chief ministerial face, announced party chief Arvind Kejriwal on Friday. Confident of winning the Gujarat elections, the Delhi CM said that he is not announcing the chief ministerial state but the state’s next CM Kejriwal said the 40-year-old Gadhvi got as many as 73 per cent votes in a poll conducted by the party. Gadhvi was pitted against state party unit chief Gopal Italia, who played a key role in the Patidar community agitation. hails from a farmers’ family in Dwarka district’s Pipaliya village and belongs to the other backward castes, which account for 48 per cent of the state’s population.
Gadhvi has been one of Gujarat’s most popular TV journalists and anchors. His show ‘Mahamanthan’ on VTV News would run from 8-9pm but was stretched to 9.30pm on popular demand, with the ratings remaining as high.
“The show had lakhs of viewers. People gave a lot of love and when the show shifted outdoors from the studio, hundreds of people would gather. Farmers, particularly, saw a messiah in me,” says Gadhvi, who often describes himself as a ‘Nayak’ holding the promise of hope and justice for people. Apart from that one show, Gadhvi also did a weekly programme on Sunday to ‘preserve Dharmik Sanskriti’.
The 40-year-old Gadhvi hails from an economically sound farmers’ family in Dwarka district’s Pipaliya village and as his surname indicates, he belongs to the Gadhvi caste, which is included in the other backward castes of Gujarat. Incidentally, OBCs account for 48 per cent of the population in Gujarat. It is this factor, apart from Gadhvi’s own popularity and clean image, that may tilt the scales in his favour.
Gadhvi has studied in Khambaliya, Jamnagar and Ahmedabad. A commerce graduate, he did his masters in journalism and mass communication from Gujarat Vidyapeeth in Ahmedabad in 2005. From a trainee journalist, he quickly rose to be the editor of VTV News at just the age of 32. As his shows focussed on the common man’s issues, he started getting a lot of requests for solving people’s problems, and these peaked during the Covid-19 years.
“It was then that I had a feeling that I cannot just speak and get away, I have to do something more for people. I took care of my mother who tested positive for Covid-19 and soon was down with Covid-19 myself. But even then, people continued to message me, asking about my well-being and for help. When I re-joined, I questioned the process of admission into hospitals. It was the pain of the people that I witnessed in the hospitals that perhaps was the turning point in my life,” he says.
Earlier, Kejriwal had urged people to contact the party through SMS, WhatsApp, voice mail and e-mail to give their views about who should be the CM candidate from the party in the state, which is currently being ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
He had said that people could submit their points of view till November 3 evening and on the basis of their opinions, the name of the party’s chief ministerial face would be announced the next day.
The Election Commission announced on Thursday that the Gujarat assembly election will be held in two phases on December 1 and December 5. The counting of votes and declaration of results will be on December 8.