From Cong baiting to praising Patels, Modi set for polls
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Chief Minister Narendra Modi, whose month-long Swami Vivekananda Yuva Vikas Yatra will come to an end at Pavagadh in central Gujarat on Thursday, may have targeted the Congress all along in his talks, but in politically decisive Saurashtra, his yatra focussed mainly on the areas where bete noire Keshubhai Patel can play spoilsport in the December elections.
Modi's chariot giving mehar and kharwa-dominated Porbandar district a miss and only touching koli and kshatriya-dominated Surendranagar district was the biggest indication that while he attacked central Congress leaders at each stop during his yatra, the former CM and veteran RSS leader was apparently not out of his mind.
While Modi did not take Vivekananda's message to the districts where Congress has significance clout, his Saurashtra leg largely cut through the talukas where Keshubhai can possibly bank on pent-up anti-Modi sentiments among his Leuva Patel community. The community has a significant presence over some 20 seats in the region.
Dhoraji in Rajkot district is a stronghold of Congress heavyweight Vithal Radadia, where Modi addressed a meet on September 24, the last day of his two-day Saurashtra leg that started from Limdbi in Surendranagar district and covered Amreli and Bhavnagar.
In this phase, besides Dhoraji, he covered Botad, Gadhda, Dhasa, Lathi, Liliya and Amreli — where Leuva Patels can swing results.
The second leg of Saurashtra tour, which started from Dhandhuka and ended in Junagadh, covered Palitana, Savarkundla, Menderda, Keshod, Visavadar and Junagadh. Again, Leuva Patels can play a decisive role in all these constituencies.
Like Porbandar, Modi covered just one seat of Limbdi in Surendranagr, which houses six Assembly constituencies and where the Congress can claim support on par with the BJP.
The third phase of his Saurashtra leg covered two centres in Kutch before reaching the Morbi-Dhrol-Tankara-Jamnagar belt, which has dominance of both Leuva and Kadva patels. Earlier, he held Swami Vivekanand Yuva Parishad at Bhuj, a seat with a good number of Leuva Patels.
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