Dinsha Patel is Cong’s answer to Modi | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Dinsha Patel is Cong’s answer to Modi

The Congress has fielded central minister Dinsha Patel against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in Mani Nagar, where elections will take place on December 16, reports Saroj Nagi.

delhi Updated: Nov 28, 2007 01:45 IST
Saroj Nagi

The Congress has fielded central minister Dinsha Patel against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in Mani Nagar, where elections will take place on December 16. In the process, it also sent out the signal that he would be its chief ministerial candidate if the party wins the elections.

“I and my party will win 101 per cent... I will send Modi packing,” Patel claimed shortly after the Congress declared his candidature, adding that he will not conduct a personalised campaign against Modi.

After spending several days trying to find someone who would agree to take on Modi, Congress strategists are upbeat at the choice of their nominee, a fourth term Lok Sabha member from Kaira who was an MLA between 1975 and 1996, though he lost the assembly elections in 2002. “It will no longer be a cakewalk for Modi. By fielding Patel, we hope to consolidate the Patel community that is upset with Modi. Further, Patel is a known face and has a clean image,” claimed a Congress leader.

According to him, Patel has nothing to lose if he is defeated, as he will remain a Union minister of state. “But he will hit the jackpot if he wins. He will emerge as chief ministerial candidate and a top Patel leader,” he said, adding that the party too would benefit as it has lacked a Patel leader of stature. But what if Patel loses and the Congress wins? “The party will take a decision at that time.”

Sources said the offer was made, among others, to Union minister Shankarsinh Vaghela and local leaders like Narhari Amin. It explored without success the possibility of fielding a Gandhian or descendant of the Mahatma from Mani Nagar. Finally, fearing the fruitless exercise may send out a wrong signal, the Congress zeroed in on Patel.