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On the last date of filing nominations on Tuesday for upcoming polls in Gujarat, both Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress heavily played the caste card for their respective first phase list.
Relenting to the rigorous negotiations with the Patidar community, led by Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), Congress finally ended up fielding 22 candidates from the community, while BJP gave tickets to 27 Patidar candidates.
The two-phased polls in Gujarat will be held for 89 seats in the Saurashtra-Kutch and South Gujarat regions on December 9 and 93 seats in Central and North Gujarat regions on 14, respectively. Counting for Gujarat polls will be held on December 18, along with Himachal Pradesh.
However, that did not appease Hardik Patel enough to announce any support to the party.
BJP's list, however, saw several protests and resignations from within the party for fielding 'unpopular' faces and ignoring some of the sitting legislators.
As for the Other Backward Class (OBC) community, the first list of nominations for 89 seats saw Congress giving tickets to 33 candidates and BJP to 26. The ruling party BJP, however, stayed away from allotting tickets to any Muslim candidates, while Congress' list saw four candidates, one each from Bhuj, Wankaner, Vagra and Surat West constituencies.
Further, as against eight candidates in the general category for Congress, BJP fielded 15 in the same. As for scheduled castes (SC) and scheduled tribes (ST), there are 7 and 14 reserved seats, respectively.
Meanwhile, political analysts feel that despite fielding more Patidars than Congress, BJP may find it tough this time given the aggressive placing of candidates by the former.
For instance, the party has pitched its senior leader Arjun Modhwadia against BJP minister Babu Bokhiriya for the Porbandar seat and Congress heavyweight Indranil Rajguru against chief minister Vijay Rupani for Rajkot West seat.