Congress, BJP start election battle with sammelans

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The ruling BJP and opposition Congress will start the ground work for the upcoming assembly elections in the city from Wednesday, without waiting for the auspicious Navratri to begin. Congress will start with assembly segment-wise sammelans and BJP will begin with its mahila sammelans as an exercise for the selection of candidates for the assembly seats in the city.

Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president Arjun Modhwadia will be in the city to attend two sammelans to be held in Udhna and Surat East. A large number of voters belonging to minority community and from other states live in these constituencies.

Congress election convener Shankarsinh Vaghela will visit Katargam and Karanj assembly segments to address booth workers. At least 50 per cent of the voters in these two constituencies belong to Baxi Panch communities and hail from Saurashtra and north Gujarat.

BJP will hold mahila sammelans in Udhna and Limbayat assembly constituencies which will be addressed by Smruti Irani, Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat. She is the national president of BJP’s women wing.

“When you have over 60 per cent of urban voters who are below 40 years of age, you need a young and a known face to communicate better with them,” said a local leader.

BJP plans to give a ticket to at least one female candidate in Surat city, party sources said.

The city has 12 assembly seats as against four in the last elections. A large number of sitting BJP and congress corporators are among the aspirants for tickets. The number of such aspirants in BJP is 27 and in Congress it is five.

“It is the parliamentary board which decides on tickets. The decision on sitting corporators’ request for tickets would be taken by the top leadership,” city unit BJP president Purnesh Modi said.

City unit Congress president Ashok Jirawala said, “The prime factor for giving a ticket would be a candidate’s ability to win the election.” Both the parties are likely to announce their full list of candidates after Diwali.