Updated: Thu, 08 Dec 2022 11:41 AM IST
HARDIK Patel, who contested the Gujarat Assembly elections from the home turf of Viramgam, is leading on the seat. The counting of votes for the Gujarat polls began at 8 am today and will go on till all the votes are tallied.
The young Patidar leader fighting on BJP ticket faces a tough challenge in the constituency held by Congress since the past one decade.
Viramgam is one of those rare assembly seats which has not stuck to one community when it comes to choosing their leaders, and has given a chance to candidates of different castes and religions.
In the second phase of Gujarat Assembly polls, held on December 5, the 29-year-old Patidar leader was up against sitting Congress MLA Lakhabhai Bharwad. 92 other seats went to polls in the second phase.
Viramgam Assembly segment, which comprises Viramgam, Mandal and Detroj talukas of Ahmedabad, has been with the Congress for the last 10 years. Congress MLA Lakhabhai Bharwad defeated Bharatiya Janata Party's Tejashree Patel in 2017 by a margin of over 6,500 votes. In the 2012 Assembly polls, Tejashree Patel had contested as a Congress candidate and won.
While some voters feel that Bharwad is facing anti-incumbency now, some others say he has been active as an MLA and worked hard to resolve the local issues, and hence defeating him would not be easy for Hardik.
The other candidates in fray are Aam Aadmi Party's Amarsinh Thakor, independent candidate Kunvarji Thakor and a known Dalit activist, Kirit Rathod. This trio is expected to influence the voting equations and ultimately the results.
Viramgam has nearly 3 lakh voters, of which 65,000 are Thakor (OBC) voters, 50,000 Patidars or Patel voters, nearly 35,000 Dalits, 20,000 Bharwad and Rabari community voters, 20,000 Muslims, 18,000 Koli members and 10,000 Karadia (OBC) Rajputs.
Who Is Hardik Patel
Born on July 20, 1993, to Bharatbhai Patel and Usha Patel, Hardik Patel is a popularly known Patidar leader. In his bio, it is mentioned that Hardik Patel was born in a 'Hindu family' in Gujarat and his late father Bharatbhai was an active BJP worker of this region.
Patel belongs to Chandranagar village of Viramgam taluka of Ahmedabad and was born and brought up in Viramgam town.
He gained prominence after he led the massive agitation demanding OBC status and reservation for the Patidar community. After years of protests, EWS (economically weaker sections) quota was introduced in Gujarat, and Patel was hailed widely for his leadership.
Previously a member of Congress, since March 2019, Patel joined BJP in June this year.
Touring villages of the region, Patel has promised to get Viramgam the status of a district, managing to please the rural population there. Patel has also promised to build a modern sports complex, schools, 50-bed hospitals each in Mandal taluka, Detroj taluka and near Nal Sarovar, 1,000 government houses in Viramgam town, industrial estate, gardens, among others. However, his list of promises do include the term 'Patidar'.