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Rediff.com  » News » Rediff projections: Can Cong stop BJP in Banaskantha?

Rediff projections: Can Cong stop BJP in Banaskantha?

Last updated on: December 17, 2012 17:16 IST
Shandilya Trivedi turns the focus on Banaskantha, a BJP stronghold where the Congress is trying hard to put up a decent fight

Banaskantha, an arid and underdeveloped region of Gujarat, gave a huge victory to the Bharatiya Janata Party in the last election. This time the Congress is trying to put up a serious fight but caste, candidates and Modi's charisma will make its job difficult.

Danta (ST)

This tribal-dominated district bordering Rajasthan and the rann of Kutch has been a traditional Congress bastion under the sway of its Lok Sabha MP Mukesh Gadhvi. His handpicked man Kantibhai Kharadi is the Congress candidate for the seat, while Gamaji Kharadi, a grassroots level popular leader, is the BJP candidate.

In spite of his clean image, Gamaji is likely to lose to Kantibhai due to the pro-Congress mindset of the voters and the clout of the Gadhvi family.

Deesa

This constituency, renowned as a major potato mandi and home to Palanpuri diamond tycoons and jewellers of Mumbai, is a BJP stronghold from which sitting MLA and state minister Liladhar Vaghela is contesting as the BJP candidate. With Congress candidate Rajendra Joshi being a political lightweight who lost the last election from Palanpur constituency, Vaghela is going to be the sure winner.

Dhanera

A fast-developing iron ore processing and core metal industries centre, the constituency is gripped by a close fight between BJP candidate Vasantbhai Purohit, a protégé of sitting MLA Mafatbhai Purohit, and Congress candidate Joitaram Patel, belonging to the powerful Chowdhary community. While Vasantbhai depends on Mafatbhai's clout and Modi charisma, Joitaram has clobbered together allied caste equations due to good networking.

Odds favour Vasantbhai 60-40.

Diyodar

Keshaji Chauhan, belonging to the one lakh strong Thakore community, is the BJP candidate for this semi-arid, water scarce and electricity deprived rural constituency. The Congress's candidate Govabhai Rabari, who lost from the constituency in the 2002 elections, is facing opposition from all the local Congress factions in the constituency for being an imposed outsider.

Keshaji Chauhan will be a clear winner.

Palanpur

Narendra Modi's childhood friend and sitting MLA Govindbhai Prajapati is the BJP candidate while the Congress has nominated Ahmedabad-based industrialist and overnight party member Mahesh Patel as the party candidate. Though Govindbhai is accused of neglecting the constituency, Modi's charisma and the constituency being a BJP stronghold will carry him through.

Govindbhai is further helped by the fact that his opponent is a total outsider, with no political experience. The ultimate trump card is that Modi is the hot favourite of the Palanpuri Banias, who control the big diamond export houses and are original DTC sight-holders in Antwerp, Belgium, and command great local goodwill.

Govindbhai is the likely winner.

Tharad

This is a new post-delimitation constituency split from old Vaav-Tharad represented by Parbatbhai Patel, a Gujarat minister. Parbatbhai Patel is the BJP candidate for the new constituency while the Congress candidate is Mavjibhai Patel. Parbatbhai has nursed his old constituency well and the new constituency was part of the old constituency, giving him a clear edge over Mavjibhai Patel, who is fighting assembly election for the first time.

Parbatbhai is the clear winner.

Vaav

The BJP has shifted its sitting Radhanpur MLA Shanker Chaudhry to this newly created constituency, which comprises parts of old Vaav-Tharad and newly added 32 villages of Radhanpur constituency. The Congress has left this seat for its ally the NCP, which has nominated Chandubhai Thakker. Geniben Thakore, who had fought as a rebel Congress candidate in 2007 in old Vaav-Tharad, is fighting as an independent.

In spite of his controversial reputation, Shanker Chowdhary is likely to sail through with the help of Modi's charisma and a loyal vote bank of 40,000 Chowdharys, 45,000 Rajputs, 15,000 Brahmins and 8000 Jains. His fight is made easier by a very weak opposition.

Shanker Chowdhary is the clear winner.

Vadgam (SC)

This semi-arid, poor and water-scarce constituency is witnessing a close fight between sitting MLA and Gujarat minister Fakirbhai Vaghela, a heavyweight Dalit leader, and Congress candidate Manibhai Vaghela. Fakirbhai is accused of neglecting his constituency, giving an opening to Manibhai to chance his luck. Fakirbhai has left the local voters and supporters cold, even though he is contesting here for the second time.

Odds favour Manibhai 60-40.

Kankrej

This constituency is a livestock country and home to famous Kankrej breed cows. Here the BJP candidate is Kiritsinh Vaghela while the Congress has nominated Dharshibhai Khanpura, a Koli community leader and a veteran loser. Though Kiritsinh has a hard time explaining to voters why even one of the Rs 500 crore worth of Vibrant Gujarat MOUs signed for the area has not come to life, the favourable caste combination and weak opponent will carry him through.

Kiritsinh is the clear winner.

Other rediff projections: Saurashtra | Vadodara | Patan | Sabarkantha | Mehsana | Gandhinagar

Coverage | Rediff forcast

Shandilya Trivedi in Banaskantha