‘Polls not about gimmicks, Congress manifesto talks about real issues’https://indianexpress.com/elections/lok-sabha-polls-not-about-gimmicks-congress-manifesto-talks-about-real-issues-5655664/

‘Polls not about gimmicks, Congress manifesto talks about real issues’

In his maiden rally on Tuesday, before he filed his nomination, a large number of youths including student leaders were seen supporting Prashant Patel, who was a popular student leader at MSU.

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Prashant Patel among his supporters at a rally before filing his nomination in Vadodara, Tuesday. (Bhupendra Rana)

Congress candidate from Vadodara Parliamentary constituency Prashant Patel is fighting his maiden election in a seat that is considered a BJP bastion. While most leaders in the BJP have dismissed their opponent as an “unknown face”, Patel said he was determined to change the writing on the wall.

In his maiden rally on Tuesday, before he filed his nomination, a large number of youths including student leaders were seen supporting Patel, who was a popular student leader at MSU. The rally was led by members of the student wing of the Congress with placards reading ‘MSU SPIRIT’.

With dancers and dhols, the rally started from Jubilee Baug and culminated at the Collector’s office. Patel started his rally by seeking blessings at a temple and also of Saroj Patel, wife of Yogesh Patel, BJP MLA from Manjalpur who recently got Minister of State rank. In contrast to stages set up by various communities on the route of the rally by the BJP, the Congress had stages focusing on issues like farmers facing water scarcity for irrigation, unemployed youth and drinking water issues. Click here for more election news

Patel has been campaigning door to door mostly in rural areas of Vadodara district and meeting below poverty line citizens living in residences built under housing schemes. He has concentrated on education, job opportunities and availability of basic amenities, and what the sitting MP has done.

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Patel said that being from the Patidar community would give him an edge. He said, “I have never lost an election in my student days in MSU. The ground reality is that people are angry with the BJP, that had this seat for 22 years but did nothing. There isn’t even pure drinking water or development here. Also, I am a Patidar and a lot of people from the community wish to have a Patel MP this time.”

Patel, who launched ‘The Tika Campaign’ after his nickname Tiko, has attacked the BJP on social media. “Elections are not about gimmicks but the BJP has made it that way. If you see the Congress manifesto, it talks about real issues that need to be addressed. And these are achievable,” he said.

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