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Gujarat poll: Stakes are high for BJP, Congress in Patan
December 03, 2007 09:45 IST
Last Updated: December 03, 2007 11:20 IST
The stakes are high for ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the key assembly constituency of Patan, Gujarat going to polls in two weeks as the second most powerful person in Chief Minister Narendra Modi's [Images] cabinet -- Education Minister Anandiben Patel -- is in fray here.
Opposition Congress too is keenly eying the seat as its district president Babhubhai Desai feels that even if Modi retains hold over Gujarat but loses Patan constituency, it will be a big dent in his image.
"It is a crucial constituency because Anandiben is the proxy CM. BJP ki ijjat ka sawal hai (It's a question of BJP's prestige)," Desai says.
Realising the importance of the battle in Patan, both Congress and BJP have decided to field a number of national leaders, including Rahul Gandhi [Images], in the campaign.
The first one to visit Patan will be former deputy prime minister and senior BJP leader Lal Kishenchand Advani. Modi too will address a rally in Patan.
Congress has pitted Municipal Chairman of the district Kantilal Patel against Anandiben.
Besides Rahul Gandhi, Congress will be getting senior leaders like Shankarsinh Vaghela, who created a separate Patan district carved out of Mehsana, also for campaigning, Desai says.
Congress believes Vaghela has a great following in the region and will translate into votes for the party.
Anandiben is banking on people's support claiming to have tackled the problem of water and power shortage and bad roads.
Maintaining that no education minister in the state was elected for a second term, Anandiben says it will be a record if she wins the assembly polls.
This is the third election for her, having been elected twice earlier.
Anandiben says a lot of work has been done for betterment of the girl child and women under the BJP rule.
"The govt also scrapped registry fees for those who got their property registered in the names of their women relatives," Anandiben says, adding this has ensured better social security for women.
Now, over 3 lakh women in the state own property, she claims.
On the other hand, Congress accuses her of commercialising education through self-financing model and not being able to ensure sufficient power supply to agricultural fields.
They also point to her "failure" to bring in industries in the district.