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Rebels play spoilsport for parties in battle for 34 central Gujarat seats

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AHMEDABAD:  Dissidents from both BJP and Congress can hurt the parties on 34 seats in central Gujarat, where BJP won only seven of the 28 seats in 1998 elections, but post-Godhra riots, it strengthened its position, bagging 23 seats in 2002.

Central Gujarat is seen as a BJP stronghold where polling is due in the second phase on December 5. However, this time senior BJP leaders like Madhushrivastav and Dinesh Patel filed their candidature as independents after failing to find a place on the party list.

That has put BJP under pressure. Vadodara city has been the party’s bastion for years, but this time it is facing trouble in neighbouring Savli, Padra, Waghodia, Dabhoi, and Karajan seats where former BJP MLAs are fighting as Independents.

How anxious the BJP is to save this stronghold can be seen from the fact that it has fielded 76-year-old Yogesh Patel from Manjalpur constituency in Vadodra in spite of state party chief CR Patil’s expressed caveat before the media that the party would not nominate those aged above 75 years. In Panchmahal district, the party is facing a tougher puzzle. Former BJP MP Prabhatsinh Chauhan, who recently quit the BJP, is contesting the Kalol seat as a Congress candidate.

Congress has its own fixed vote bank in central Gujarat. However, the party does not have an influential leader. In Narmada’s Dediapada seat, the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) is also facing the problem posed by a rebel who has filed his papers as an AAP candidate from Dediapada seat.  Congress held the Chhota Udaipur seat in the north of Narmada for years, but this time, the BJP has inducted senior Congress leader and 11-time MLA Mohan Singh Rathawan, giving his son Rajendra Singh the ticket. (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)

56 Days ago