Riding on the 'Modi wave' in Rajkot Lok Sabha seat of Gujarat, the BJP has dared to gamble once again by giving ticket to Kadva Patel community candidate Mohan Kundaria against strong Koli community leader and present Congress MP Kunwarji Bavaliya.
After 20 years of BJP dominance on this seat, Congress managed to snatch it away in 2009 when its 'Koli' leader Kuvarji Bavailia defeated 'Kadva' Patel opposition nominee Kiran Bhalodia, as another sub-case of Patel Leuva was denied tickets by the saffron party.
However, BJP has once again given ticket to a Kadva Patel candidate Mohan Kundaria and played a gamble on him in this seat which has made the contest interesting. While the Congress hopes to retain this seat where caste combination matters a lot.
On Rajkot Lok Sabha seat, three communities including two sub-castes of Patels 'Kadva' (2 lakh) and 'Leuva' (2.75 lakh)and 'Koli' (2.35 lakh) community have remained decisive in the polls.
The seat had been won by Leuva Patel candidates (from both parties) since 1977 to 2004, but breaking the tradition a Koli community leader won it for the first time in last Lok Sabha polls.
BJP lost the Rajkot seat after two decades in 2009 when the party had preferred not to repeat its four-time MP and a Leuva Patel leader Vallabh Kathiria.
For the first time after 1989, Congress' Koli candidate Kunwarji Bavaliya had managed to defeat BJP's Bhalodia with a margin of 24,735 votes.
If 2012 elections on seven assembly segments of Rajkot Lok Sabha seat are seen as any indicator, then BJP (4 seats) is just one ahead from Congress (3 seats), which can also assure a keen electoral battle here.
However, BJP is confident this time to encash votes in the name of development done by their prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, while the Congress has been relying upon works done by their candidate in the past five years.
BJP's candidate from Rajkot Lok Sabha seat Mohan Kundaria claimed that public will only vote in favour of Modi.
"People want to see Narendra Bhai as the PM of this country, they will vote the development and certainly not on other issues like caste or community," Mohan Kundaria told PTI.
On the question of water-scarcity in the region, Kundaria said, "Rajkot has been witnessing growth and there is no such scarcity, this is a rumor created by Congress." But apart from projecting Modi, the BJP has not missed a single chance to play a 'caste-card', as party's Lok Sabha candidate from Porbandar and a Leuva Patel leader Vitthal Radadia has been roped in to campaign here to woo Leuva community members also.
Radadia, who left Congress and joined BJP in 2012, is often seen in Rajkot Lok Sabha's cooperative sector's meeting as having his dominance over this sector which can help the party's candidate Kundaria.
A senior BJP leader from Rajkot has said that the party will obtain Kadva votes as Kundaria has been fielded, while Leuva votes will also come to BJP with Radadia's presence in the campaign.
On the other hand Congress candidate and present MP Kunwarji Bavaliya has blamed BJP for the scarcity of water in Rajkot and also counted his works in last five years.
"Modi who was first elected from an assembly seat of Rajkot had promised then to provide water every where in the district, but what happened then... water is no where to be seen. People get water once in five days," Bavaliya told PTI during his road-show in Rajkot city.
Bavaliya has said that people will vote for him as he has given five new trains to Rajkot, better health care and education facilities.