Mehsana district in North Gujarat goes to polls on 14 December, the second phase of Gujarat assembly elections. It is represented by state Deputy CM and Finance Minister Nitin Patel and PM Narendra Modi 's hometown Vadnagar is also situated in this district. No doubt it's a prestige seat for BJP. Add to it the fact that it has been a BJP citadel. In the 2012 assembly elections, the BJP had won five seats and the rest two were won by the Congress.
What makes this interesting this time is that the district is referred as the starting point of the Patidar agitation led by Hardik Patel that has rocked the state's politics. That has raised hopes of the Congress and its allies who are hoping to make this a big symbolic fight.
Mehsana, also known as Patidar hub, witnessed violent agitation in 2015 for the demands of reservation in government jobs and colleges. Due to the Patidar agitation, the BJP lost its hold during the local body elections held in November 2015. The replacement of Anandiben Patel with Vijay Rupani as CM of Gujarat is also due to the consequences of the Patidar agitation. Umiya Mata Mandir, the most holy place of Kadva Patidar, also falls in Mehsana. Maa Umiya, is preached as the Kuldevi of the Kadva Patidar community.
ASSEMBLY SEATS UNDER THIS DISTRICT AND PARTY WIN IN 2012 ELECTION:
No wonder this has attracted 34 candidates to the contest, probably the highest this election. The Congress is expecting to cash in on Hardik Patel's popularity to break into BJP's citadel. Gujarat's Deputy CM and Finance Minister Nitinbhai Patel is contesting against Congress' Jivabhai Patel, who was the MP from Mehsana Lok Sabha seat in 2004. Interestingly in 2004 Lok Sabha elections, Jivabhai Patel defeated Nitin Patel by 14511 votes. In 2012, Nitin Patel had won with a victory margin of 24,205 votes.
Mehsana is expected to see one of the hardest fights in Gujarat as Patidars led by Hardik Patel are determined to defeat Nitin Patel, one of BJP's most important leader and minister, at any cost.
Mehsana has a total electorates of 2.59 lakh, with male and female voters count of 1.34 lakh and 1.25 lakh respectively. As per the news reports, around 28 percent of the electorate belongs to the Patel community.The result of Mehsana seat will decide Hardik Patel's real effect in the current assembly polls.
Apart from the politically-dominant Patidars, Mehsana district, that has a population of around 20.35 lakhs, also has Kshatriyas, Muslims and Dalits.
Mehsana is situated just about 60 km away from Gujarat's capital Gandhinagar but the voters here believe that it is the way they vote that eventually determines which party gets to rule the state. If in the 2017 elections, Congress with the help of Patidars is able to reverse the 2012 results, it will definitely boost their strength against the BJP's dominance. And in a way the contest sums up BJP's challenge in the entire state.