The Bharatiya Janata party on Friday released the first list of candidates for the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections. Interestingly, the Patidar factor has dominated the ticket distribution.
In the list of 70 names, the BJP has included the names of 16 Patidars, including that of Deputy CM Nitinbhai Patel.
The BJP has been beleaguered in the face of a Patel agitation led by 24-year-old Hardik Patel. The BJP has clearly reached out to the Patidar community and has made the task difficult for the Congress.
If the Congress fields less than 16 out of 70 names, it risks being seen as less pro-Patidar than the BJP. If it yields a higher number of Patidars, it risks alienating other communities such as OBCs in Gujarat.
Patidars are believed to constitute up to 18 percent of Gujarat's electorate. The community, which has supported the BJP for two decades, is perceived to be at loggerheads with the party over a demand for reservations under the OBC quota.
Voting to elect 182 members to the assembly will be held in two phases on December 9 and 14. The results are expected on December 18. The list includes candidates for both the phases.