The two-phase Gujarat local body elections will start on Sunday, 22 November, and conclude on Thursday, 26 November.
The Patel quota agitation led by Patidar Anamat Sanghursh Samiti (PASS) leader Hardik Patel has changed the dynamics of the state politics and traditional votebanks.
Here are 10 things to know about the Gujarat civic polls:
- The Gujarat municipal elections will be the first electoral mandate ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped down as the chief minister of the state.
- A total of 1,856 candidates are contesting across 568 seats in six municipal corporations - Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar
- There are a total of 95,90,552 voters across six municipal corporations of which 51,10,713 are male voters and 44,79,839 are female.
- Ahmedaad has 39,83,589 voters, Surat has 26,27,657, Vadodara has 12,27,934, Rajkot has 8,85,700, Bhavnagar has 4,54,059 and Jamnagar has 4,11,613.
- The Patel quota agitation is expected to affect the vote shares of the BJP. The Patidar community, which constitutes one-fourth of Gujarat's demography, had been staunch supporters of the saffron party since 1980s.
- The ruling BJP is struggling even at the home turfs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah, who hail from Gujarat.
- Congress rallies in some parts of the state reportedly have youth wearing Hardik Patel masks to woo Patidar voters in the background the ongoing quota stir.
- The elections are crucial for BJP, especially because of their debacle in Bihar assembly polls and the setback in Uttar Pradesh panchayat polls.
- In the previous civic polls in 2010, BJP had swept the polls by winning 75% of seats in the six municipal corporations.
- The BJP is fielding about 500 candidates from the Muslim community compared to around 300 in the previous elections. Meanwhile, the Congress has fielded 700 Muslim candidates.