Modi deputes close aide Patel to make Advani win hands down

Last Updated 27 April 2014, 13:33 IST

After ensuring that his former mentor L K Advani will contest from his traditional Gandhinagar seat, BJP's PM nominee Narendra Modi has now thrown his weight behind the party patriarch and deputed his trusted aide Anandiben Patel to ensure Advani sails through to win his sixth term.

Advani, who had opposed Modi's ascension as party's PM pick, had expressed his desire to contest from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh this time but backed off apparently after Modi prevailed upon top party leadership.

The reluctant contestant, however, is totally dependent on BJP machinery for the elections even though Modi is leaving no stone unturned to ensure Advani's victory with a huge margin.

Congress has given ticket to local candidate Kirit Patel, the former MLA of Visnagar. According to party insiders, the move is aimed at giving a sort of walkover to Advani with a belief that the 87-year-old may somehow act as a counterbalance to Modi.

The only problem the BJP poll managers may encounter is to maintain the lead for the BJP veteran who had won by a margin of over 1.2 lakh votes in 2009.

Though Advani campaigned here for a maximum of five days due to his busy campaign schedule nationwide, his family members, including daughter Pratibha and son Jayant, have been campaigning relentlessly.

Gandhinagar will go to polls on April 30 in a single-phase poll for all 26 seats in the state.In a bid to dispel reports on his 'soured' relation with Advani, Modi has deputed Anandiben Patel, the senior-most minister in his cabinet, to handle the responsibility of his campaigning.

While Patel has been campaigning extensively in the seat for Advani, Modi had also held one rally in support of the former deputy prime minister here.

Advani first won Gandhinagar seat in 1991 and later in 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2009. Though Advani has won seven Lok Sabha elections, but he had not contested from Gandhinagar when he entered Lok Sabha in 1989 for the first time.

"Advaniji will win with a huge margin from the seat. There is no doubt about it. Every BJP worker in the constituency is making all-out efforts to make the party leader win," BJP spokesperson Navin Patel said.

Hinting that the "wave" in favour of Modi will ensure that a large number of people from the seat will also vote for Advani, Patel said, "When the entire state wants Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to become prime minister, people of Gandhinagar will also vote for this purpose in large numbers."

However, he clarified that differences between Advani and Modi is a past "as both the leaders have time and again praised each other publicly".

In the constituency with a population of 15.55 lakh, BJP had won five out of total seven Assembly segments and Congress only two in 2012 Assembly elections.

The constituency includes three Assembly segments of urban Ahmedabad city, namely Ghatlodia, Vejalpur and Naranpura, which have been traditional strongholds of BJP, and the party is eyeing a huge lead for Advani from these areas.

Congress nominee Patel is campaigning hard in the BJP stronghold and trying to woo the Patel community, besides Thakore bloc which falls under OBC and is numerically strong in this seat.

"Our candidate will win this politically important constituency," state unit Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said.

"The biggest factor which is in our favour is that Patel is a local candidate whereas Advani, being a national leader, has not worked for the constituency or tried to solve the problem of people. We are sure people will vote for Patel," he said.

Patel is holding door-to-door campaign and also public meetings everyday to gain acceptance among voters.

AAP has fielded a builder Rituraj Mehta. A total of 18 candidates are in the fray in the seat.

(Published 27 April 2014, 13:33 IST)

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