With just mere days ahead of the Lok Sabha elections 2019, there is an evident divide in the Congress among the party workers outside the Bharuch office, where Ahmed Patel is likely to contest from.
Pertaining to Gujarat's Bharuch seat, a division could be seen coming to fold within the party members as people sloganeering for and against Ahmed Patel could be seen, divided, outside the party office.
A close-aide of Sonia Gandhi, Patel, currently a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat has a stronghold in Bharuch, which has a sizeable population of Tribals and Muslims. But Patel has not been contesting Lok Sabha elections since 1991. The veteran Congress leader had won from Bharuch thrice — in 1977, 1984 and 1989, but lost to the BJP’s Chandubhai Deshmukh in 1991. BJP has retained the seat thereafter.
Apart from the senior Congress leader, the seat of Bharuch had other local contenders, making it the cause of instigation. In the video, the party leaders who could be seen raising slogans arrived outside the office on Wednesday night at 10:30, stayed until midnight and chanted 'Ahmed Patel villain hai'
Although an official statement about Patel's candidature is being awaited, Senior Gujarat Congress leaders have also confirmed the possibility. However, sources have told that following the protests, Patel will not be filing nomination from the seat.
Congress in some regions of Gujarat including Bharuch is facing opposition from Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP). Though the party has approached them for an alliance to tackle the winning juggernaut of BJP in Gujarat, Chhotu Vasava, leader of the BTP has completely rejected any approach.
However, sources say that the Gujarat Congress party is trying to bank on the fact that Vasava is long term friend of Ahmed Patel and the Gujarat Congress hopes that his candidacy will help them to get the support of BTP.
In 2014 general elections, BJP had clean swept all the 25 seats of the state with Congress unable to get even one seat. However, it was successful in increasing its seats in 2017 Gujarat Assembly polls, limiting the BJP to 99 seats in the 182 member-assembly.
Thursday is the last day to file the nomination for phase 3, Gujarat.