With the emerging trends, it has become evident that the Congress has gained majorly in Saurashtra and Kutch region with BJP trailing behind. If the trends are anything to go by, then the impact of Patidar agitation and disaffection of farmers have left a tangible impact on BJP’s electoral prospects in its stronghold of Saurashtra and Kutch. However, Deputy Chief minister Nitin Patel speaking to media ruled out the impact of Patidar movement in the results. Although it cannot be denied that the influential Patidar community, comprising farmers, diamond merchants and industrialists, is up in arms against the BJP over its demand for reservation in government jobs and education.
Saurashtra has been the epicentre of the Patidar Agitation. Patels are broadly categorised under two sub-castes, Kadvas and Leuvas, and two smaller sub-castes, Chaudharys and Anjanas. The four castes and sub-castes of Patels though are spread all over Gujarat and have a greater concentration of Saurashtra. Rahul Gandhi’s visit in the region has been frequent and so has been the rallies of the Patidar agitation crusader Hardik Patel.
In the 2012 assembly election, the BJP overcame a stiff challenge from its former chief minister Keshubhai Patel, who broke away to form the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP), to win 32 seats and eventually a fourth successive term. The Congress ended up with 13 seats in Saurashtra, the GPP just two and the NCP one. The Saurashtra region went to polls in the first phase. The region sends 48 legislators to the 182-member assembly.
It started with a tense morning for the ruling BJP as the trends showed the Congress moving ahead. At one point, even the BJP’s big guns were struggling to gain the lead. Deputy VM Nitin Patel and VM Vijay Rupani were behind their competitions from their respective seats. However, the BJP regained and going by the latest trends, have crossed majority mark comfortably. Notably, BJP has been ruling the state since 1995.