Upbeat Congress aims at 115 seats

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Ahmedabad, Dec 15 (UNI) Union Minister of State for Petroleum and senior Congress leader Dinsha Patel today claimed his party is likely to bag 110 to 115 seats of the total 182 in the Gujarat assembly.

The polls for 95 seats will take place in the second phase across North and Central state tomorrow.

Addressing mediapersons here, Mr Patel, who is facing a crucial battle tomorrow against the state Chief Minister Narendra Modi in Maninagar constituency, said ''Congress is likely to bag 110 to 115 seats. I will be one of the victors. I met 80 to 90 per cent of the voters in Maninagar and I can say with certainty that voters want a change. In contrast, Mr Modi had held only one meeting.'' ''In 2002, Mr Modi had said he would turn Maninagar into Singapore. Today, if one visits the place, it is dusty and unattended, with people suffering from respiratory problems due to dust allergy. People are looking for emancipation,'' Mr Patel said.

''There are 3.26 lakh poor in Maninagar. Patels are 42,000; Dalits 52,000; Brahmins 26,000; Muslims 14,000; Christians 18,000; Jains 14,000; Banias 14,000; Kshtriyas and Rajputs 40,000 each. All these people yearn for a change,'' he claimed.

Taking a dig at Mr Modi, he remarked that the BJP people call him 'Chotte Sardar', if that is the case, then why have they forgotten that today is the 57th death anniversary of Sardar Patel.'' Mr Modi talks of progress on his own accord minus the Centre's contribution, he said and countered that the Central government had given Rs 40,000 crore to help the state in overall development. Yet not even 25 per cent of that amount had been spent.

If one goes to small localities, one could see no work had been started on roads. Storm water drain work too had not begun. During monsoon, people get trapped and have to wade through slushy water.

All these works were promised by Mr Modi in 2002 to be completed by the end of his tenure, he said.

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