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Want to be heard: 89-yr-old Jamnagar South candidate echoes 25-yr-old neta | Gujarat Election News


AHMEDABAD: Pakistan-born Arjun Parmar may be pushing 90 but is confident of his chances from Jamnagar South as an independent. At 25, Harsh Goklani has just hit the cut-off age to fight elections. The duo represent the opposite ends of the age spectrum in the first phase of the Gujarat polls on December 1.
Parmar, 89, the oldest in the first phase, is among 14 nominees, including first-time BJP and Congress candidates, in the Jamnagar South seat that the governing party has won thrice on the trot.
While Parmar is not sure of his impact on the final outcome, he is sure about making his voice heard. Parmar came with family from Pakistan soon after independence and settled in Jamnagar where he dabbled in politics and remained a councillor from Jamnagar’s Ward 15 for over two decades.
“I know local issues and my insights into the area due to my long stint as councillor would come handy. I am very much active and people still come to my office with their issues. I am campaigning to make my voice heard on civic issues like water, drainage, roads that are never addressed,” Parmar told TOI.
Other senior citizens in the fray include the outgoing MLA from Junagadh, Bhikhabhai Joshi, 77. Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) chief Chhotu Vasava, also 77, is contesting from Jhagadia after a family drama over ticket allocation. The fourth candidate aged 75 and above is Bhupendra Patoliya, an independent from Rajkot West.
According to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), 80 candidates of the 788 in the first phase are 60 or above. One of the constituencies – Shahera in Panchmahal – in the second phase is unique as both BJP and Congress nominees are 72.
At the other end, four candidates in the first phase are 25; six are 26 years old. Most of them are fighting as independents. “I worked with BJP for years. But when I started raising concerns on certain issues, I was asked not to ask questions. My family has been in social work for two generations and I am confident I can address people’s concerns,” said Goklani, who is contesting from Bhavnagar East with a kettle symbol.
Faijal Dhamlot from Talala in the Gir Somnath seat is also 25 and emphasises that need of the hour is to listen to the problems of the youth.

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