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NCP challenge on all Gujarat seats worries Congress

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IANS Gandhinagar
The Nationalist Congress Party's (NCP) decision to contest on all 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat is worrying the Congress.
Even though the Congress and NCP are allies nationally and in some states, things are not going smoothly in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah.
Jayant Patel a.k.a Bosky, the NCP Gujarat President, announced on Thursday that after seeing no scope for an alliance with the Congress in Gujarat, the NCP had decided to put up candidates in all the seats.
"Candidates will also be fielded in all five Assembly by-elections," he said.
According to Congress sources, the NCP leaders in Gujarat have little or insignificant presence in the state. Allying with them would not help the Congress in a significant way.
Congress sources also claimed that the NCP had staked claim to four or five seats in Gujarat including Gandhinagar, Porbandar, Panchmahals, Sabarkantha and Mehsana.
NCP leader Shankersinh Vaghela is eyeing the Godhra seat for himself.
Whenever the NCP has contested the Lok Sabha elections on its own, the Congress has suffered.
In 1999, there was no alliance between the two parties which hurt the Congress in Chhota Udaipur, a Scheduled Tribe seat that was a Congress bastion. NCP candidate Bheemsinh Koli got 9,048 votes, helping BJP's Ramsinh Rathwa to win by 1,198 votes.
In the 2004 and 2014 Lok Sabha elections, both the parties were in alliance.
When the NCP fought on its own even in Assembly elections, the BJP was again the gainer.
In 2002, NCP candidates altered the results of 14 seats which the Congress lost. Votes polled by NCP candidates were higher then BJP's victory margin.
These included Morbi, Vankaner, Gondal, Kalavad, JamJodhpur, Khambhalia, Dhari, Kodinar, Gadhada, Palitana, Dhanera, Sarsa, Matar and Olpad seats.
Even in the 2017 Assembly elections, the Congress lost five seats because of NCP candidates.
The Congress lost by 2,551 votes to BJP in Prantij, where the NCP got 3,718 votes. In Dholka, the Congress lost to BJP by 327 votes while the NCP collected 1,198 votes.
Similarly, the Congress lost the Umreth seat by 1,883 votes to the BJP where the NCP got 35,051 votes. In Fatehpura, the Congress lost by 2,711 votes while the NCP candidate got 2,747 votes.
In Dangs, the Congress lost by 768 votes while the NCP candidate polled 1,304 votes.
--IANS
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First Published: Mar 29 2019 | 9:16 PM IST

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