For the last two terms the constituency had been represented by Gujarat Revenue Minister Anandiben Patel, who has shifted this time to Ghatlodia, Ahmedabad, making way for previous MLA Ranchhodbhai Rabari. Anandiben had neglected the constituency and now Rancchodbhai as the BJP candidate is facing the music. Yet, he banks on his old goodwill and the loyal BJP voter base to get him through.
However, he faces an uphill task due to the popular Patel leader, Mohanbhai Patel, being the GPP candidate, who could have taken away enough votes to make Congress candidate Jodhaji Thakore a likely winner. But Mohanbhai stood down in Ranchhod Rabari's favour, though only after the last date of withdrawal of nominations, so his name stays on the ballot paper. Nevertheless, this has improved Rabari's chances of victory.
Odds favour Rabari 60-40.
With the constituency's electoral god Bhavsinh Rathod accepting a Congress nomination, the seat will go its way. The new Radhanpur constituency has Bhavsinh's strongholds from the old Sami-Harij constituency merged into Radhanpur, forcing sitting MLA Shanker Chowdhary to seek refuge at Tharad.
Bhavsinh always wins because of his money power and muscle power and widespread charities in conducting mass marriages and giving dowries to some 15,000 Thakore brides. When Shankarsinh Vaghela rebelled and toppled the Keshubhai Patel government, he fought the by-elections and won with support from Bhavsinh Rathod. BJP candidate Nagarji Thakore represents just a token opposition.
Bhavsinh Rathod is the clear winner.
This contra-indicator constituency, dominated by the Thakore community, always goes against the general wave and keeps on lending support to different parties at different times. BJP candidate Dilipsinh Thakore is trying to encash the goodwill for his father Viraji Thakore, ex-MLA with a strong clout in the community.
But with the Congress putting up a Thakore candidate in Dinesh Thakore, the division of the community votes between the two has forced Dilipsinh to rely on support from traditional non-Thakore BJP voters belonging to Brahmin, Rajpuit, Patel and Jain communities.
Dilipsinh enjoys a slight edge.
Sitting MLA and Gujarat Health Minister Jainarayan Vyas is the BJP candidate, while the NCP has nominated Balwantsinh Rajput, an ex-MLA from Siddhpur and a wealthy industrialist as its candidate with the Congress leaving this seat for its ally. With a declared wealth of Rs 273 crores, Rajput is the richest candidate in this assembly elections.
Vyas's prospects have been weakened by post-delimitation changes, detaching Patel-majority villages from Siddhpur and adding Thakore-dominated villages to it, Rajput commands an immense control over the Thakore community due to his big-time charities.
Odds favour Rajput 70-30.