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Posted on Nov 28, 08:39PM | UNI
The politically powerful Patel community, which forms more than 15 per cent of population in Gujarat, has been given priority in the candidate lists prepared by major political parties.
In their candidate lists for the first phase of polling on December 13, the parties have given lion's share to the community. For example, for 87 seats of the first phase of electioneering, the BJP has given tickets to 24 Patels, the Congress 19 and rebel leader Keshbhai Patel-led Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) has given as many as 34 tickets to the Patels, sources said today.
Patels, a highly properous community dominating business and industry of the state, has been playing an aggressive role in state politics since the formation of Gujarat as a separate state in 1960. No political party can afford to ignore this community.
GPP, which has emerged a third force in the elections within its existence of just three months, has given maximum tickets to the Patel community. Two of its main leaders, President Keshubhai Patel and General Secretary Gordhan Zadaphia, belong to Patel community.
Though the GPP claimed to be an all-community party, it is banking on Patel factor to win the election. Keshubhai and Mr Zadaphia, both are contesting from the constituencies, where Patels are a major factor. Zadaphia is contesting from Gondal in Saurashtra where the rivalry between the Rajputs and Patels is well-known.
BJP has fielded a Rajput candidate from Gondal and that's why Zadaphia hopes to cash in on the Patel-Rajput animosity.