Gujarat election: Congress releases first list of 77 candidates as Hardik Patel keeps cards close to chest

With just two days left for filing nominations for the first phase of the Gujarat polls, the Congress announced its first list of candidates late on Sunday.

 Gujarat election: Congress releases first list of 77 candidates as Hardik Patel keeps cards close to chest

Representational image. AFP

Earlier in the day, Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president Bharatsinh Solanki, speaking to reporters, had said that there is now an agreement between the party and the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) and an understanding has been reached. Solanki also said that neither PAAS, Jignesh Mevani nor Alpesh Thakor has asked for a ticket. He added that the meeting yielded a "positive outcome".

Whether or not that was the case will come to light on Monday when Hardik Patel reveals PAAS' stand on supporting the Congress during the Gujarat polls at a public gathering in Rajkot.

Through this list, the Congress has been trying to strike a delicate caste balance while walking the quota tightrope and grappling internal factionalism.

On the other hand, the ruling BJP has announced 106 candidates out of a total of 182 seats, by releasing two lists so far.

While polling for 89 constituencies will be held on 9 December, the remaining 93 seats will go to polls on 14 December. The last date for filing nominations for the first phase is 21 November.

Hardik Patel, who has emerged as the protagonist of caste consolidation, had set the Congress' commitment to a quota for Patidars under OBC category as the pre-condition to extend his community's support to the party.

Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal had held a meeting with PAAS representatives and handed three options to the community on the quota issue.

Hardik recently said that if the Congress finds PAAS leaders fit enough to contest polls, then they can fight elections.

A delegation of PAAS leaders had gone to Delhi two days ago and demanded 30 seats from the Congress which held its Central Election Committee meeting under Sonia Gandhi. The Congress, however, had rejected the demand.

According to sources in Congress, the PAAS has reduced the number of seats it wanted to contest.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Nov 24, 2017 17:00:48 IST