First phase holds key to power

With the first phase of polling in Gujarat scheduled for Friday, political fates of many a stalwart hang in balance.

The Saurashtra region, which accounts for 58 seats in the 182-member Assembly, holds the key.

As many as 1.82 crore voters are expected to exercise their franchise in 87 constituencies in Saurashtra and South Gujarat.

The first phase will seal the fate of leaders like Keshubhai Patel and state-level Congress leaders like Leader of the Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil and Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee chief Arjun Modhwadiya.

Analysts said apart from the anti-incumbency factor in some parts of Saurashtra, several other constraints like rebels and former BJP members jumping on Keshubhai’s bandwagon will play a crucial role in the first phase of polling.

The BJP won 43 seats in the region in 2007, while the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress won one and 14 seats respectively.

Caste equations

“Delimitation and caste equations can be a spoiler for the BJP, especially in the Saurashtra region,’’ said political analyst Vishnu Pandya.

BJP spokesperson Vijay Rupani said,  “The wave is in our favour and voters will ensure a clean sweep for Modi even this time.’’

The Congress is hopeful that the anti-incumbency factor will work in our favour and voters will ensure our victory, said Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi.

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