The Bharatiya Janata Party [ Images ] rules Vadodara, no doubt about it. However, post-delimitation changes and fierce dissidence will torture both the parties -- BJP as well as Congress -- in the 13 seats out of the 33 in central Gujarat.
The inscrutable voter attitude makes the outcome unpredictable but Rediff.com gives an idea of prevailing sentiment.
Our assessment is that the BJP is a clear winner in seven out of 13 seats in Vadodara, while the Congress is strong in two. In four seats both the Congress and BJP are finding the battle tough.
Vadodara City (Reserved SC)
The main fight is between Manisha Vakil of the BJP and Jaishri Solanki of Congress.
Vakil is most likely to win, but with a greatly reduced margin thanks to rampant dissidence engineered by several local leaders being cut to size.
The Congress is bugged by virulent dissidence as well. The BJP faces a tough time to face in its traditional stronghold. Odds favour Manisha Vakil 60-40.
Images: BJP's Manisha Vakil (left) and Congress's Jaishri Solanki
Yogesh Patel, who represented this BJP bastion for five terms, has changed the constituency this time due to post-delimitation disadvantages, making way for noted criminal lawyer Rajendra Trivedi as the BJP candidate.
The Congress has fielded controversial industrialist Jayesh Thakker, who built up his public profile by organising garba competitions.
Thakker's weak position is further undermined by widespread protest among local Congress leaders and workers.
Rajendra Trivedi was the defence lawyer in the Best Bakery Case, and his nomination is interpreted as a reward from Narendra Modi [ Images ].
Trivedi is likely the winner.
Images: BJP's Rajendra Trivedi and Congress's Jayesh Thakker
State tourism minister Jitendra Sukhadia has been re-nominated as the BJP candidate after initial resistance by local party workers and other leaders.
Congress candidate Kirit Joshi is a new name in the constituency, thus failing to enthuse party workers.
He is banking on his goodwill as a Brahma Samaj activist, attracting loyal caste voters.
Sukhadia is going to be the likely winner.
Images: BJP's Jitendra Sukhadia and Congress's Kirit Joshi
Gujarat Industries and Energy Minister Saurabh Patel has found a safe seat in Akota after Botad in Saurashtra became unsafe for him following post-delimitation changes.
The Congress has fielded youth leader Lalit Patel in breach of an understating with Nationalist Congress Party, in which Akota was allotted to the NCP.
It was alleged that Patel had some tacit understanding with the NCP to give him a cakewalk.
Lalit Patel faces two handicaps: He will repel Dalit voters due to the prominent role played by him in anti-reservation agitations and the fact that his party has breached an understanding with the NCP.
Saurabh Patel is the clear winner.
Images: BJP's Saurabh Patel and Congress's Lalit Patel.
Yogesh Patel, who has shifted from Raopura, is the BJP candidate for the newly created constituency, while the Congress has nominated Chinnam Gandhi, former opposition leader in Baroda Municipal Corporation.
A seasoned agitationist, Gandhi with his grass-roots services will prove a tough opponent for Yogesh Patel, who too enjoys a 'man of the masses' image.
But his public work was confined to his Raopura constituency, which he represented for five terms.
Both stand equal chances of winning.
Images: BJP's Yogesh Patel and Congress's Chinnam Gandhi.
The Congress has re-nominated sitting MLA Khumansinh Chauhan from this party bastion, while the BJP has nominated its Baroda rural MLA Upendrasinh Gohel.
The BJP's campaign is punctured by dissident Ketan Inamdar, who is fighting as an Independent.
Since both candidates belong to the Kshatriya community, there will be division of votes.
Chauhan enjoys a clear edge over Gohel.
Images: BJP's Upendrasinh Gohel and Congress's Khumansinh Chauhan.
While the BJP has re-nominated controversial sitting MLA Madhu Shrivastav, the Congress has given the ticket to education baron Jayesh Patel, who had lost the 2007 election by 9,000 votes.
Shrivastav had hit the media headline several years ago when he was accused of intimidating Best Bakery case witness Zahira Sheikh.
A violence-prone constituency in which rival candidates' supporters have been involved in murderous assaults, Shrivastav is likely to the clear winner.
Images: BJP's Madhu Shrivastav and Congress's Jayesh Patel.
Jetpur Kwant (ST)
A newly formed post-delimitation seat, it is likely to favour the Congress because its nominee ex-MLA Sukhram Rathva is less controversial than BJP candidate Jayanti Rathva, a local muscleman who has sparked wholesale rebellion in the party among workers as well as local BJP leaders.
Sukhram Rathva has a clear edge over Jayanti Rathva.
Images: BJP's Jayanti Rathva and Congress's Sukhram Rathva.
Chhota Udepur (ST)
BJP is likely to get a shock here due to seven-time Pavi Jetpur (now merged in Chhota Udepur) MLA Mohansinh Rathva, who is fighting as a Congress candidate.
Votes from Pavi Jetpur will prove crucial in deciding the outcome and Mohansinh has a monopoly over these votes.
All these years he has maintained impeccable relations with his voters.
Sitting MLA Gulhsinh Rathva, who has been re-nominated by the BJP, has his woes compounded by former MLA Shanker Rathva, who is fighting as a GPP candidate.
Mohansinh Rathva is the clear winner.
Images: BJP's Gulhsinh Rathva and Congress's Mohansinh Rathva.
Sitting MLA and local cooperative strongman Dinesh Patel, popularly known as Dinu Mama, has been given the BJP ticket for this election.
Dinu Mama had defeated the BJP candidate by fighting as an Independent and later joined the BJP.
Congress candidate Jashpalsinh Thakore too is a cooperative bigshot, thus maintaining the long established tradition, that whoever wins Padra will dominate the district cooperatives.
So far only a candidate endorsed by Dinu Mama or Dinu Mama himself has won Padra.
Thus Dinu Mama has remained the king of the district cooperatives. He is the clear winner.
Images: BJP's Dinesh Patel and Congress's Jashpalsinh Thakore.
There is a close fight between BJP candidate Satish Patel, a cooperatives leader, and Congress candidate Akshay Patel, who has proven credentials as a youth leader in district panchayat politics.
Satish Patel is handicapped by his involvement in the sugar cooperatives scandal, making him critically dependent on the Modi charisma and the party machinery.
Akshay Patel is popular among his party workers.
Both stand equal chances of winning.
Images: BJP's Satish Patel and Congress's Akshay Patel.
Sitting MLA Siddharth Patel, the state Congress publicity in-charge and son of former CM Chimanbhai Patel, has been re-nominated as the Congress candidate.
The BJP has nominated its district unit president Balkrishna Patel alias Dholar.
With Patel votes split between the two, whoever swings the non-Patel votes in his favour will be the clear winner.
Siddharth Patel has a superior proven capacity for this and it will make him a clear winner.
Images: BJP's Balkrishna Patel and Congress's Siddharth Patel.
The BJP has re-nominated its sitting MLA Abhesinh Tadvi in this Tadvi tribal dominated constituency.
The Congress has nominated its Naswadi MLA Dhiru Bhil as the party candidate.
The BJP will easily retain the seat, in spite of opposition from cooperative leaders and Shanker Rathva, a BJP dissident fighting as an independent.
Images: BJP's Abhesinh Tadvi and Congress's Dhiru Bhil.