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Home > Election > PTI

Patan may spring a surprise on BJP

December 06, 2002 18:15 IST

The road from Mandal to Patan could be a rough ride for Gujarat Education Minister Anandiben Patel, a Modi protégé.

She is among the few Bharatiya Janata Party leaders who have been allowed a shift in their seat, but Congressmen claim the move could prove costly to her, particularly because she is a 'new face' in the area.

Patel was elected from Mandal in Dhanduka (reserved) parliamentary constituency. She has now filed her nomination from Patan in Patan (reserved) parliamentary constituency.

The party high command asked Patel to move to Patan to ensure that more heavyweights were there in North Gujarat, the region Modi himself hails from, said her supporters.

Such claims apart, there is, a perceptible undercurrent of 'disenchantment' among the BJP workers over non-allocation of tickets to some promising local candidates.

Patel feels otherwise.

She says that it would be a cakewalk for her in view of the several 'achievements' of the BJP government and the programme it has chalked out for the next five years.

She is pitted against a veteran Congressman Kantilal Patel, who has held a top post in the local body for 20 years.

"She is new to the area, the people will not accept her. We want someone who knows the area well and can solve our problems," asserts Shantilal Rawal, a retired government employee in the town.

"Every household here knows Kanti Nana and after holding the post of president of municipality for 20 years, he knows what the people in Patan want," says Kirit Sukhadia, a grocer, whose shop is situated bang opposite the local Congress office.

Though the BJP won the assembly seat last time, in the Lok Sabha election later, the Congress had emerged victorious in Patan, even establishing a lead in the assembly segment.

Mohan Patel, who was denied renomination by the BJP, was a first-timer and he won by a margin of 15,000 votes. Anish Nandi, a local BJP leader, argues that new faces have won from this seat.

Patan has an urban electorate of 78,000 and rural voters number 82,000.

Anandiben says that Godhra is not the issue in the polls, as it has already reached the "hearts of the people and there is no need to remind them about it".


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