In central Gujarat, four Modi ministers in the race
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The second phase of polling will be held in 39 assembly constituencies in central Gujarat districts of Vadodara, Anand, Kheda, Panchmahals and Dahod districts on Monday. Among prominent candidates in the fray are BPJ ministers Saurabh Patel, Jitendra Sukhadia, Jaswantsinh Bhahor and Fatehsinh Chauhan, and two senior Congress leaders — Shankersinh Vaghela and Siddharth Patel.
Energy Minister Patel has changed his home constituency in Botad and is contesting from Akota seat in Vadodara city. He faces main challenge from Lalit Patel of Congress.
Political fate of Tourism Minister Sukhadia would also be sealed in EVMs on Monday. He is seeking re-election from Sayajigunj constituency in Vadodara city, and faces challenge from Kirit Joshi of Congress.
Similarly, Tribal Development Minister Bhahor is also seeking re-election from Limkheda constituency in tribal Dahod district while Roads and Buildings Minister Chauhan is seeking another term from Halal constituency in Panchmahals district.
Vaghela, who has declared himself as the captain of Gujarat Congress, is in the fray from Congress stronghold Kapadvanj in Kheda district. He is likely to face a tough fight from Kanu Dabhi, sitting BJP MLA from now wiped-out Kathalal constituency.
Former president of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) Patel is also seeking yet another term from Dabhoi constituency in rural Vadodara. BJP has fielded its Vadodara district unit president Balkrishna Patel from the same constituency.
Jayant Patel alias Boskey, president of Congress ally Nationalist Congress Party's Gujarat unit, is also trying his political luck from Umreth constituency in Anand district after his old constituency Sarsa, in the same district disappeared in delimitation process.
While Anand, Kheda and Dahod are traditional Congress bastions, ruling BJP has upper hand in Vadodara and Panchamahals.
Incidentally, Chief Minister Narendra Modi has done a number of public meetings in tribal regions of Vadodara, Dahod and Panchamahals in the run-up to the elections.