In land of cars, splurging is trend and caste is key
“Caste is a major factor here,” says Congress leader Pankaj Vaghela. He says the Congress has already gained the edge over the BJP by fielding Kamsi Patel, whose Koli Patel community, at an estimated 17 per cent, represents the single largest section of the electorate.
The BJP has fielded Kamabhai Rathod, sitting MLA of Viramgam. The Rajput’s nomination has upset local party workers. Kanbha Gohil, a Kshatriya, has switched to the Congress because of the nomination. “Although Rajputs are Kshatriyas, other sub-castes such as Darbars and Thakores view them as outsiders,” Gohil says.
The Darbars and the Thakores together constitute about one-fourth of the total 2 lakh votes. A tenth are OBCs, while five per cent each are Rabaris and Kadva Patels. The Leuva Patels represent two per cent.
BJP leaders insist they have got the caste equations right. “If you consider the whole of Ahmedabad district, we have distributed tickets to Patels, Rajputs and Kshatriyas. We have a lot of support from the Koli Patel and Kshatriya communities, besides other communities who form the largest number of voters,” says Pradipsinh Vaghela, state youth BJP chief and from Sanand.
The BJP leads the Congress narrowly, 11-10, in the Sanand taluka panchayat, elections to which were held in 2011. The result marked a fall for the BJP after the Sanand municipality elections of 2007, when it won 27 of
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