Sunday, Feb 25, 2018 | Last Update : 05:32 PM IST
Rahul Gandhi visited the city twice last month to understand the plight of those who were “hit by GST and note ban”.
Ahmedabad: Surat — Gujarat’s diamond city and the epicentre of the Patidar quota movement — is set for a tough Assembly poll battle as the Congress has added the face of the Patidar agitation Hardik Patel to its arsenal this time.
Amid issues like implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and demonetisation, apart from the “Patidar” factor, it is to be seen for whom the large trading community of this diamond and textile hub will vote, when the city goes to polls in the first phase on Saturday.
Though Ahmedabad is the largest city of Gujarat, Surat is a favoured destination of political heavyweights in this poll season.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi visited the city twice last month to understand the plight of those who were “hit by GST and note ban”.
During his visit, Gandhi also addressed a huge rally in the city’s Patidar strongholds — Varachha and Katargam.
On December 3, quota agitation leader Hardik Patel led a mega road show in Varachha. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani led the BJP’s road show in Majura area the same day.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month addressed a rally at Kadodara, located on the city’s outskirts.
The Congress is hoping to snatch some seats from the BJP this time by capitalising on the ‘anger’ factor of Patidars and the traders.
On the other side, the BJP is confident of retaining its bastion, as its leaders claim the ‘ground reality’ is different from what the Congress is projecting.
Out of the total 12 constituencies in Surat city, all held by the BJP, nearly half of the seats - Varachha Road, Kamrej, Katargam, Karanj, Olpad and Udhna — have a concentrated population of Patidars, who mostly migrated here from Saurashtra.
The remaining six seats are — Surat-East, Surat-North, Surat-West, Choryasi, Limbayat and Majura.