Though Narendra Modi's development has bypassed this district, first time voter's are rooting for the chief minister, says Shandilya Trivedi
If the Bharatiya Janata party loses some seats in Saurashtra, as the Patels have voted in big numbers for Keshubhai Patel's Gujarat Parivartan Party, then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's strategy to hold on to North Gujarat and get more seats from South and Central Gujarat has to work.
In BJP's scheme of things, Sabarkantha is important. This area was affected by the communal violence of 2002. The youth -- first time voters -- in the area are going all out for Modi. There is no doubt that Modi's development has bypassed the area. The growth of the district's centre, Modasa, is pathetic.
Sitting BJP MLA and Gujarat Minister Ramanbhai Vora has been renominated to fight the election for the fifth time. His election seems a cakewalk considering that Congress has put up a weak candidate Rambhai Solanki against him.
Even though Vora has neglected local irrigation problems and failed to follow up on vital development issues, he is expected to win.
Two-time sitting MLA and Gujarat Minister Jaisinh Chauhan has been renominated as the BJP candidate. The Congress candidate is Mahendrasinh Baraiya. Since both rivals belong to the same Kshatriya community, there will be a division in the 97,000 strong Kshatriya voters. Whoever gets the bulk of the non-Kshatriya votes will win.
Chauhan will have an edge over Baraiya.
Odds favour Jaisinh Chauhan 60-40.
While BJP has renominated sitting MLA Dilipsinh Parmar, Congress has given the ticket to Dinesh Thakore a youth leader. Due to his neglect of development issues, Dilipsinh has been experiencing deep resentment from party workers. But his victory is possible due to Modi-magic and traditional BJP voters, helped further by a greenhorn Congress candidate.
Congress putting up a fight, but BJP has the edge.
The constituency remained a Congress bastion even against the Modi wave of 2002 and 2007 and is likely to remain so yet again with sitting MLA Ashvin Kotwal renominated as the Congress candidate. While Kotwal has remained a dynamic MLA with an independent youth organisation of his own, the BJP has put up a weak candidate Bhojabhai Makwana.
There is funny comment that the nomination has not only surprised the party workers but even the candidate as well.
Ashvin Kotwal is the sure winner.
BJP nominee and Gujarat Home Minister Praful Patel is the party candidate while Rajendrasinh Chavda is the Congress candidate. Patel's low profile as home minister and adverse caste factor in a Kshatriya dominated constituency with a Kshatriya candidate opposing him makes it a tough fight for him. Even with Modi's charisma and traditional BJP voters going his way it is going to be a close fight for Patel. There are rumours about Khedbrahma Congress MLA Ashvin Kotwal being his underground ally.
Odds favour Rajendrasinh 70-30.
This prosperous agrarian constituency involves a close fight between sitting BJP MLA Udesinh Chauhan and Congress candidate Mahendrasinh Vaghela, son of Congress strongman Shankersinh Vaghela. There are complaints of Udesinh not nursing his constituency well and being contrasted with Mahendrasinh's good work as MLA from Gandhinagar. Vaghela enjoys a slight edge over Chauhan.
Odds favour Vaghela 60-40.
The sitting two-time MLA Dr Anil Joshiyara has been renominated as the Congress candidate for the election, fighting a one-sided contest with an untested and weak BJP candidate Nilaben Madiya. With an outstanding record of social work among the local tribals, helped further by a favorable caste factor, Dr Joshiara will win with a big margin.