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Gujarat: Choice may limit to parties instead of 'outsider' candidates
Shambhu Sahu in Sabarkantha (Gujarat) | December 06, 2007 11:03 IST
For a change, voters in Himmatnagar may choose between Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress instead of their candidates during voting next week as they feel that nominees of both the parties are "outsiders".
While Congress candidate Chandubhai Keshavlal Patel, a US-based businessman, is being called an outsider for his non resident Indian status, BJP's Praful Patel, who originally hails from Mehsana, has been given the same tag by his opponents.
Himmatnagar falls in Sabarkantha district, adjoining Mehsana in north Gujarat.
Sitting BJP legislator Ranjit Singh Chawda is "anyday better known" Sabarkantha than Praful Patel, claim poll watchers.
Though the BJP candidate has been living in the district for a considerable period, he too is being considered as an outsider since he originally belongs to Mehsana, they claim.
The candidates of the two major parties, however, are leaving no stone unturned to establish their credentials.
BJP leaders are stressing that Patel has been staying in Sabarkantha district for long and has been contributing towards its development.
In a bid to gain popularity, Congress' C K Patel has reportedly donated "large sums" of money for a school and construction of a dargah, poll observers say.
As the campaigning for Himmatnagar seat hots up, BJP is alleging that the Congress candidate, who is an NRI, could go off to the US after the polls.
Countering the BJP's charges, the Congress camp has been saying that C K Patel is a "rich man and does not need money and, therefore, he will not indulge in corruption and genuinely serve the people."
Despite all out electioneering by the candidates of the two parties, poll watchers feel that the actual contest during the polls could be between BJP and Congress instead of their nominees.
They are also of the view that the sitting BJP legislator Ranjit Singh Chadwa might have been denied a ticket in a bid to "balance" the "caste" factor. The Himmatnagar seat is dominated by Kshatriyas and Patels.