Ahmedabad: It was the last day on Thursday for filing the nominations for the second phase of Gujarat Assembly elections, and amongst those who filed nominations were Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his opponent for the Maninagar seat, the wife of controversial IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt.
Hitting out strongly at the Congress party, the Gujarat Chief Minister said, "Can the Congress make Ahmed Patel the Chief Ministerial candidate and make him contest against me?"
Modi attacked Congress president Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel, and it was seen as a response from the Gujarat Chief Minister after the Congress fielded anti-Modi IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife Shweta as his opponent.
Shweta's candidature itself is only of symbolic values. It's unlikely to impact Modi's electoral prospects in the Maninagar seat known as his bastion. However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) still went on an offensive against the Congress.
It did so because the BJP and Modi have in the past alleged that Sanjiv Bhatt's claims in the 2002 riots cases were instigated by the Congress. Now, according to the BJP, Shweta's candidature proves their point.
Taking the attacks by the ruling party was Shweta herself, who said, "People of Gujarat are with me. Their worries are mine and I can handle them well."
As that battle played out in Maninagar, several other contenders filed their nominations on the last day, including Amit Shah, who is Modi's close aide and former Gujarat home minister. Shah is a chargeshetted accused in two fake encounter cases.
However, the former state home minister is confident that the BJP will regain power in Gujarat with overwhelming majority. "People of Gujarat will vote back BJP with 2/3rd majority," said Shah.
Whether that confidence will pull the BJP through or will the rebels and the Congress make a dent will be known only on December 21.