Gujarat to decide fate of 851 candidates in the second phase today
Ahmedabad, Dec 13: The political parties have finished their high-voltage campaign and it is now time for the voters to decide, as Gujarat readies for the voting on the second and final phase of the assembly election on Thursday.
Approximately 2.23 crores will exercise their franchise. As many as 851 candidates from 14 -North, West and Central districts of Gujarat are in fray for the 93 assembly constituencies.
The second phase will be very important for the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) as many constituencies coming under the phase are considered to be strongholds of the party. Congress on the other hand is trying to wrest these seats from BJP.
Of the 93 assembly constituencies that are going to the poll, lotus bloomed in Ahmedabad, Mehsana, Gandhinagar, Vadodara or Patan districts during last elections.
However, Hardik Patel factor could prevent a smooth sail for BJP, after the young Patidar Samaj leader joined hands with the main opposition Congress. The voting pattern in Mehsana, Kheda and some pockets of Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad, where Patidars are in majority could be a decisive factor in deciding the winner.
It will also be interesting to see how Viramgam votes. Viramgam, which falls under Ahmedabad district, is home town of Hardik Patel.
The BJP has fielded sitting Congress MLA Tejashree Patel, who donned saffron attire few months ago. Congress has given ticket to OBC heavyweight Lakha Bharwad, making the fight more interesting to see whether it is caste or Hardik factor that dominates the outcome.
In Ahmedabad district, BJP is pinning hopes on constituencies like Ghatlodia and Naranpura, which was BJP president Amit Shah’s assembly constituency during last elections.
Other seats like Ellisbridge, Maninagar and Asarwa are likely to vote traditional.
But a tight contest is likely to be seen in places Thakkarbapa Nagar and Sanand, in particular. In these consistences main Congress has raised the issue of farmers being victimised and accused BJP of giving away land at cheap price to Tata Nano car plant, during the campaign
Similar case is in Mehsana, where deputy chief minister Nitin Patel is pitted against Congress’ Jiva Patel.
The Deputy chief minister faced lot of ire within the party and across the Patidar samaj over his silence during the Patidar agitation . Mehsana has also attracted highest number of candidates, 34, in this polls.
In Kheda district, BJP is likely to have an easy outing. Former Congress leader and MLA from Kapadvanj Shankarsinh Vaghela has formed his own outfit, which is not contesting on any seat.
Ramsinh Parmar, who won on Congress ticket last time, has switched sides and this time is facing the pols as a BJP candidate. He will be up against Kanti Parmar of Congress.
BJP may not face much opposition in ten constituencies of Vadodara, the district, that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls his karmabhoomi.
However, Sayajigunj seat can witness a nail-biting contest between young Narendra Ravat and seasoned Jitendra Sukhadiya. Ravat, a successful MS University Students’ Union leader, was originally named Congress candidate from Vadodara before Madhusudan Mistry took on Modi.
Modi had vacated Vadodara seat after winning from Varanasi too .
Ravat got a chance in by-poll but Ranjan Bhatt of BJP, riding on Modi wave, boarded the Parliament flight.
Meanwhile, in the tribal districts of Aravalli, Banaskanth and Dahod considered to be Congress bastions, BJP can become a spoiler as the party is hoping that the state government’s schemes and BJP-RSS combine work can fetch good results for the ruling party. Moreover, Bahujan Samajwadi Party also throwing the hat on the ring could divide the vote of Congress.
Out of four assembly seats in Patan district, Randhanpur has all the ingredients to be potboiler. Congress has fielded Alpesh Thakor, the OBC leader who joined the Congress.