After much thought, Congress picks Suresh Patel to take on Advani

April 3rd, 2009 - 12:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Gandhinagar, April 3 (IANS) With the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani in the fray, the Congress thought long about who to field from the Gujarat constituency. And after a fortnight of deliberations fixed on legislator Suresh Patel, said a party leader.
With Advani, who is seeking re-election for the fifth time, having bested candidates such as former chief election commissioner T.N. Seshan and former Gujarat police chief P.K. Dutta, it was not an easy decision.

“It took the party some time to decide on the candidate for the Gandhinagar seat. We now have found the right candidate in Suresh Patel who is well known in the Kalol and Gandhinagar belt,” leader of opposition in the Gujarat assembly and Congress leader Shatisinh Gohil told IANS.

It took the Congress poll think tank in New Delhi two weeks of discussions before deciding on the Kalol legislator.

According to a senior leader, Patel had been in contact with voters in the Kalol and Gandhinagar belt for five years. He had first won as legislator from the Kalol seat in 1998 but lost it in the 2002 assembly poll. In 2007, Patel won back the Kalol seat after a gap of five years during which he had kept his public contact programmes going.

Congress leaders also point out that 35 percent of the overall voting strength in the Gandhinagar constituency comprises the influential Patel community, mostly involved in farming and land dealing businesses.

They are hoping that Advani’s long absences from the constituency during the last five years would work in the Congress’ favour.

Noted dancer Mallika Sarabhai is also contesting the Gandhinagar seat as an independent.

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