In the Congress camp, the announcement of Modi’s resignation has brought back some action with City President Narendra Ravat gearing up to prepare the party’s campaign strategy. Incidentally, Ravat is tipped to be the party’s contestant since he was originally the winner of Vadodara primaries. Ravat says, “We will see what the party says when it decides on the candidature from Vadodara. I have had three occasions in the past where I have almost got the party mandate and things have changed at the last minute. Whether I am given a ticket or not, I will be responsible for campaign here and the focus will be on making people realise that Modi has only used this seat for his gain and dumped it when he did not need it.”
” They played with the emotions of voters here by urging them to elect the Prime Minister with a record margin and people turned out and voted with passion. And he simply resigned from this seat. Our campaign will be focused on local issues where the BJP has failed miserably,” Ravat adds. Party leaders say many other aspiring leaders, too, are planning to pitch for tickets in the bypolls. According to sources, former MP Satyajit Gaekwad, who tried his luck to get a Congress ticket in Dhule-Malegaon, is now back in Vadodara and hoping to get a second run. A party leader says, “Ravat will be the choice or the Congress will have to answer why it ditched its own primaries idea two times.”
Rajya Sabha MP Madhusudan Mistry, who lost the contest from Vadodara to Modi, will be meeting party members on May 31 to finalise the candidate. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has been lying low throughout the election campaign, has also said it would contest the by-polls. Party convenor Paresh Patel says, “Of course, we will contest the bypolls, but with a new candidate.”
District Election officers say that although the EC is yet to announce the date for the bypolls, it will be held in the first week of October, within the six months’ deadline. Most likely, the polling day will coincide with the grand festivities of Navratri. “It might be difficult for us to convince voters to come out for a second round in October. We will try our best to ensure good turnout,” an official says. District Collector Vinod Rao said he had not received any intimation from the EC on the resignation of Modi from Vadodara constituency.