While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is eyeing a third consecutive sweep of all the Lok Sabha seats that go to polls in a single phase in Gujarat on Tuesday, the Congress-AAP alliance is confident of putting a spoke in the saffron party’s juggernaut by winning at least a couple.

The Congress has its eyes set on the Anand and Banaskantha seats — two seats in Gujarat’s milk belt — where it hopes of springing up a surprise on its saffron rival. On the Banaskantha seat, both parties have positioned female candidates. On this seat, which is also home to Gujarat’s milk processing entity, Banas Dairy, the Congress candidate and sitting MLA Geniben Thakor is pitted against the BJP’s Rekha Chaudhary.

In her first election, Chaudhary, the granddaughter of Banas Dairy founder Galbabhai Chaudhary, replaces current BJP MP Parbatbhai Patel.

The other seat where Congress sees a chance is at Anand, home to India’s first milk cooperative, where its sitting MLA and Kshatriya leader Amit Chavda is pitted against Mitesh Patel, a sitting Lok Sabha MP, and a business baron spearheading a food-processing firm. At Anand, Congress hopes the Kshatriyas will switch sides. However, even the Congress does not feel Kshatriya numbers are large enough to see the back of Rupala at Rajkot, where Congress leader Paresh Dhanani is facing the BJP candidate.


Apart from the Anand and Banaskantha, Congress is also expecting to put up a good show on at least 10 more seats like Jamnagar, Surendranagar, Amreli, Junagadh, Kutch, Kheda, Bharuch, Valsad, Patan and Sabarkantha. 

“This election has been difficult for us as far as availability of resources for contesting elections are concerned. As Congress assets lie frozen, very little funding has flowed to the candidates, especially from the AICC. Some of our candidates, like Geniben, have fallen back on crowdfunding their election campaigns. Lalit Vasoya (fighting Union minister Mansukh Mandaviya) from Porbandar, JP Maraviya from Jamnagar and Rutvik Makwana also resorted to crowdfunding for their electoral campaigns. But despite this, we are expecting to put up a good show which will be better than 2014 and 2019,” said Manish Doshi, spokesperson for the Congress in Gujarat.

Confident BJP

The BJP has already pocketed one of the 25 seats in the State. In Surat, the nomination forms of Congress candidates were rejected and the remaining 11 candidates withdrew from the race, allowing BJP candidate Mukesh Dalal to emerge as the uncontested winner. When asked if the BJP fears of losing a couple of seats, Yamal Vyas, spokesperson for the party, said, “We have seen the response during the last one month. There is no challenge for us on any seat. Last time, we had won most of the seats by a gap of one lakh votes. This time, margins will only improve.” Asked if the Kshatriyas could hurt the party on any seat, Vyas added, “The feedback we have got from the ground is that the Kshatriyas are still with the BJP. There are some people who are unhappy. But it will not adversely impact us.”

BJP has 1.13 crore primary members in Gujarat. Of these, 74 lakh are page committee members. The page-committee members and their families make up 2.22 crore voters, which the party is expecting to tap for a clean sweep. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Minister for health and family welfare Mansukh Mandaviya and Union minister for Animal Husbandry and Dairying Parshottam Rupala are among the important leaders who are contesting polls from Gujarat this time.

While BJP candidates and the party’s star campaigners have largely focused on highlighting the achievements of  Narendra Modi during the election campaign held across Gujarat, the Congress, on the other hand, has focused on inflation, unemployment, and issues faced by farmers.


Apart from the Lok Sabha polls, Gujarat will also be seeing by-elections for five assembly seats, including Vijapur, Porbandar, Manavadar, Khambhat and Waghodiya. A total of 24 candidates are in the fray for the by-elections.