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Surendranagar: Two candidates may mar Congress, BJP prospects

Press Trust of India  |  Surendranagar 

At 31, the constituency has the highest number of candidates for a seat in with at least two of them seen as having potential to eat into the votes of main rivals and the BJP.

The constituency in the Saurashtra region, a Koli community-dominated seat won by the BJP in 2014, has as many as 25 independents in the fray.

Despite so many candidates in the fray, the main fight is likely to be between the BJP and the Congress, the parties which dominate the scene in

The saffron outfit has dropped its sitting from here Devji Fatehpara and given ticket to Mahendra Munjpara, while the has fielded Somabhai Patel, who had lost in 2014.

Ex-BJP MLA Lalji Mer, contesting as an independent, is seen as affecting the prospects of Congress's Patel.

Another candidate Davji Dekavadiya, the nominee of the Hindusthan Nirman Dal, a party formed by former Pravin Togadia, is seen as eating into the votes of Munjpara.

Mer and Patel belong to the same Tarbada Koli sub- caste and this may lead to division of their community's votes, thus harming the prospects of the latter.

Munjpara belongs to the Thakor Koli sub-caste.

Mer was with the BJP till November last year and later joined the Congress, from where he was hoping for a ticket to contest the elections.

When the party decided to renominate Patel, a three- time MP, Mer entered the fray as an independent.

In 2009, Mer had contested the elections from here against Patel as the BJP candidate and lost by a margin of around 4,800 votes.

Mer bemoaned lack of development in and said his fight is against both the and the BJP.

"No who represented ever worked for the development of the area. Despite there being two dams, city dwellers still suffer from erratic water supply and farmers have to suffer due to lack of irrigation water," said Mer.

"I am contesting the election because my supporters asked me to do so.

"My fight is against both the Congress and BJP, as none of the two parties worked for the development of the people of Surendranagar," said the former Dhandhuka MLA who had faced defeat in the 2017 Assembly elections.

On the other hand, Dekavadiya, the candidate of Togadia's party, has been associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of the BJP, for over 25 years.

The fledging party is contesting on two principal issues - and cow protection.

"I am getting positive response in villages across the district with a network of former members here supporting our party supremo Togadia and my candidature," Dekavadiya, a former of Sursagar Dairy, or Milk Producers' Union Ltd, said.

"People have understood that the BJP made a fool out of them in the name of We have told them that while BJP has gone back on its promise, only we can ensure that is constructed (in Ayodhya). Cow protection is our second most important priority," he said.

However, both BJP and the Congress claimed the candidature of and Mer posed no threat to their respective electoral prospects.

District BJP played down the threat from Dekavadiya, saying he is not a known face in the region.

"He is not a known figure and it is an exaggeration to say he can take away significant number of votes," he said.

Other than Surendranagar, the has fielded candidates on over a half a dozen other seats in - Patan, Sabarkantha, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad East, Junagadh, Kheda, Dahod and Kutch.

While Surendranagar has the highest number of candidates in the fray at 31, the Panchmahal Lok Sabha seat has the lowest nominees at six.

Jamnagar has the second highest number of candidates at 28 and Ahmedabad (East) third highest at 26.

Voting for all the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat will take place in a single phase on April 23.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, April 15 2019. 19:30 IST