Despite fielding candidates keeping caste equations in mind, the Congress has lost four consecutive Lok Sabha elections from Bharuch, which ironically is the home constituency of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel.
With voting for the polls just nine days away, the Congress is leaving no stone unturned to grab non-traditional voters in the north Dediapada region. On Monday, Patel visited mainly tribal dominated areas to taste the mood of the people and meet party workers to ensure that voters of other political parties come into the Congress fold. In the effort, Patel also met leaders of the Christian community to seek their support in the upcoming elections.
For Congress, winning the seat will be an acid test as tribals dominate the seat with 4.5 lakh voters from a total of 14.80 lakh voters. The seat also has nearly 3.5 lakh Muslims apart from 1.5 lakh Patel votes. Congress has fielded Jayesh Patel as its candidates. Sources say, if Congress aims to win the seat, they have to ensure support of the tribals, Muslims and Christians in the area.
“As BJP has fielded a candidate, who is a Vasava and belongs to the tribal community, the region also has dedicated supporters of Chotu Vasava of the Janata Dal (United) and its candidate, Congress has been losing the tribal vote bank. The main rival of the Congress in the election is Chotu Vasava, who managed nearly 60,000 votes in the last election damaging the chances of the Congress. With the support of tribal Christians and dent in Vasava’s vote bank, the Congress hopes to sharpen its chances in this election,” said a source close to development.
According to political buzz, Congress has also been reaching out to Chotu Vasava to work for benefit of both the parties. JDU’s candidate Anil Bhagat, a tribal, is considered to be a close aide of Chotu Vasava and holds chances of making a dent in the Congress vote share.
Congress that has been fielding minority candidate from this seat since last two LS election, this time chose to field a Patel, with nearly 1.5 lakh voters from the community. However, it remains to be seen if the strategy, meetings and requests to the tribals and Christians help increase Congress vote share in the election.