Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
The Congress party on Monday released its first list of 108 candidates for the Gujarat assembly election.
Party general secretary Kamal Nath, in charge of Gujarat, said the second and final list would be released later for 'strategic electoral reasons'.
The list includes 47 legislators, one Member of Parliament and seven women.
One hundred and eighty-two seats are at stake in the election.
Party sources told rediff.com that the Congress high command is awaiting the list of the Bharatiya Janata Party, its arch-rival, for releasing its second list.
Although BJP general secretary Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had earlier said that the party list would be released on November 16, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had the announcement postponed reportedly to ensure that his followers are given their due share.
Significantly, Modi is in Delhi so that he can persuade the party central leadership to accommodate his followers, instead of those of his rival, Keshubhai Patel.
Nath, however, denied that there was any factionalism within the Congress over the release of the list.
He repeatedly fended off reporters who wanted to know whether the Patels and the Thakurs had been given more representation compared to other communities.
"We have not done any [casteist] analysis of the list because we don't think it is necessary," Nath said.
"We wish to restore Gujarat at the forefront of India's development and want to make it as a mascot of progress," Nath said, adding that the people of the state would soundly reject the communal and divisive policies of the Narendra Modi government."
Former state chief minister and senior Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela said the BJP was a 'divided house' claiming that 'even Gujarat ministers and MPs are running away from the seats allotted to them'.
Senior party leader from Gujarat, Amarsinh Chaudhary, asserted that unlike the BJP, the Congress represented all sections of society.
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