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HindustanTimes Tue,29 Jul 2014

Is Valsad the gateway to Delhi's power corridors?

PTI  Ahmedabad, April 29, 2014
First Published: 11:30 IST(29/4/2014) | Last Updated: 16:34 IST(29/4/2014)

It may just be a big coincidence or the ever-changing political climate in the region, but a look at the electoral history of Valsad Lok Sabha seat in south Gujarat clearly reveals that whichever political party has managed to win this constituency has ultimately clinched power in Delhi.

Valsad, one of the 26 seats of Gujarat, is thus viewed by local leaders as their gateway to Delhi.

This belief of reaching the power corridor via Valsad has been validated by past records.

The Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), for the first time, won the seat in 1996 and went on to run a 13-day government at the Centre.

Vajpayee again got elected as prime minister in 1998 and 1999. Valsad was again won by the BJP.

Subsequently in 2004, Congress candidate Kishan Patel snatched this seat from the BJP. The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) came to power at the Centre.

Again in 2009, Congress repeated the feat with Kishan Patel, who emerged victorious by getting 7,169 more votes than BJP's DC Patel.

Considering the co-incidental value of the seat, the BJP has fielded former health minister of the state, Dr KC Patel, while the Congress has repeated two-term parliamentarian Kishan Patel.

Since 1977, the Congress has won the seat for five times, the BJP for three and independents for two terms in ten general elections. Whenever independents won, a non-Congress, non-BJP coalition government was formed at the Centre.

In 1977, Morarji Desai became the prime minister, as a Janta Dal candidate won the seat.

Valsad Lok Sabha seat has 14.95 lakh voters which includes communities such as Dhodiya (3.68 lakh), Koonkana (2.27 lakh), Varli (1.89 lakh), Koli (1 lakh), OBC (1 lakh), Halpati (65,000), fishermen (45,000), Muslims (55,000) and Bheel 30,000.

In this Lok Sabha election, ten candidates are in the fray from Valsad. BJP candidate KC Patel believes that due to the anti- incumbency factor, this seat will be captured by him.

"Congress candidate's lead had reduced and he won the last election with 7,000 votes approximately. So we are assured about getting this seat," KC Patel told PTI.

Patel said he had made his best efforts to win this 'lucky' seat to make Narendra Modi the prime minister of the country.

A close aide of Congress candidate Kishan Patel said, "We are canvassing round-the-clock to retain this seat and we are sure that we will form the government at the Centre."

Political commentator Dinesh Shukla sees this 'lucky' seat factor as a mere coincidence in the electoral stats.

"Parties may believe in luck, but as far as Valsad's example is concerned it is merely a coincidental thing," Shukla said.

Also, Valsad does not possess any uniqueness which has led to this particular trend, he added.


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