Next Republic Day, Gujarat will be bigger...

In the course of CM's Swami Vivekanand Yuva Vikas Yatra, a district or a block (taluka) was born in Gujarat almost every week, taking the state to 33 districts and 243 talukas. KAPIL DAVE reports...

For the first time in its history, Gujarat got seven new districts in just over a month. Ahead of the crucial state Assembly elections, Chief Minister Narendra Modi announced the formation of these districts and 17 talukas, carefully carved out for political gains. The new districts, many of them tourist destinations, will come into being from January 26, 2013.

At present, Gujarat has 26 districts and 226 talukas.

Political observers feel the announcement could help Modi woo voters of these largely underdeveloped or backward areas, where Congress is better placed.

For instance, in Chhota Udepur, a new district to be carved out from Vadodara district, and in Mahisagar district to be carved out from central Gujarat districts of Kheda and the Panchmahals, the Congress is relatively in a better position. Both these new districts will be dominated by tribals, who are known for their long-term loyalty to a political party. Ditto for Aravali district, which will comprise parts of Sabarkantha and Banaskantha districts.

Botad, dominated by the Koli community which is second only to Patels in influence in state politics, has also been named as a new district, to be carved out of Bhavnagar district.

In the coastal belt of Veraval, Gir-Somnath has been declared a new district.

In Jamnagar district, where Congress is strong, a new Dwarka district comprising the famous pilgrim destination has been carved out.

Morbi, a hub of ceramic and electronic industries, has also been named as a district. The industries there reportedly donated generously in BJP's recent election fund-raising drive "Dhan Daan".

The last district reorganisation was done in 1997-98 when Shankersinh Vaghela was the chief minister. He had carved out Porbandar, Kheda, Patan, Valsad and Navsari districts in his very short tenure as CM, but he got nothing out of it because the Rashtriya Janata Party (RJP) that he founded subsequently merged with the Congress.

... contd.

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