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Where does the Congress hope to gain?

Sunil Raghu, DH News Service, Ahmedabad, Dec 3 2017, 0:07 IST

Where does the Congress hope to gain?

Phase 1

Polling date: December 9, 2017

Region: Saurashtra-Kutch No. of seats: 54

Districts: Surendranagar, Morbi, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Amreli, Bhavnagar, Porbandar, Gir Somnath, Botad.

A strong BJP bastion for over a decade-and-a-half, Saurashtra this time is facing a wave of anti-incumbency on the issue of low prices of cotton and groundnut as well as unrest among Patidars, the second largest community in the region after Kolis of coastal Saurashtra. Congress has put a lot of focus on the region and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi began his Navsarjan Yatra from Dwarka temple here. Congress is hoping to more than double its tally of 11 last time. Most observers feel, it would be 50:50 for BJP and Congress this time.

Region: South Gujarat No. of seats: 35

Districts: Narmada, Bharuch, Surat, Navsari, Dangs, Valsad, Tapi.

A traditional BJP stronghold, the key issue for BJP could be primarily in Surat, which has 16 Assembly seats. The fouled-up GST implementation, demonetisation and Patidar issues have shaken Surat for over a year now. Textile and diamond traders in Surat have been out on the streets, at times having pitched battles with police. So was the case with Patel agitation. Amit Shah, BJP president, was forced to cut short his speech and scoot as Patels created a ruckus.
Congress has been virtually absent from the region but, of late, it is hoping to make gains from the dissent against BJP.

Phase 2

Polling date: December 14, 2017

Region: North Gujarat No. of seats: 32

Districts: Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, Patan, Mehsana, Gandhinagar, Arvalli

Homeground of Prime Minister Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, former chief minister Anandiben Patel and current deputy chief minister Nitin Patel, North Gujarat surprisingly swings partly towards BJP and partly towards Congress. It is also the hometown of Hardik Patel and OBC leader Alpesh Thakore. It also is the hub of the Patel quota stir and has seen much unrest in the last two-and-a-half years. What could go against Congress is that its legislators rushed to Bengaluru during Rajya Sabha polls, as large parts of Sabarkantha reeled under flood waters. Congress had won six of the seven Assembly constituencies in 2012. The saving grace for Congress could be that there are still complaints of relief promised by government not reaching the needy.

Region: Central Gujarat No of seats: 61

Districts: , Kheda, Vadodara, Godhra, Dahod, Chhota Udepur, Anand, Mahisagar, Panchmahals.

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