The Election Commission of India on Wednesday announced dates to the two-phase Gujarat Assembly elections which will be held on December 9 and 14.
Congress will attempt to make a comeback where it lost badly in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The AamAadmi Party and the Janata Dal (United) are also trying to make their presence felt in the upcoming election, hoping to eat into the voter share.
However, political churning in the past few months has added new parties to the state-fold along with some of the smaller and lesser-known players that could prove beneficial in seats that are closely contested.
Here is a list of some of the small parties in the state that could claim a small share of seats.
A Veteran Congress party leader earlier this year left Congress to float his own political outfit called the Jan Vikalp. The party has aligned with Rajasthan-based All India Hindustan Congress Party and will contest the Gujarat polls.
Announcing that they will be contesting the Gujarat polls, the party will have to tread carefully given their performance in the recently conducted assembly and municipal polls in Punjab, Goa and Delhi. Though the party has been campaigning in the state over the past couple of years, it hasn’t yet managed to secure a strong base.
Navin Bharat NirmanManch (NavNirman Party)
The party formed in 2012 fought the 2012 Assembly elections and subsequently local elections in alliance with the Congress party. However, it was handed a drubbing on both occasions. Realistically, the party doesn’t seem to have any great standing in the state. It remains to be seen on how many seats it contests this time.
Combat communal politics
The Election Commission has registered a new party, “New Socialist Movement,” has been launched with its base in Gujarat politics with intendedof putting up 10-15 candidates in the coming Gujarat Assembly elections.
The party would combat the communal politics in the State. It would not have any alliance with any party but would share its interest with “like-minded” social and voluntary organizations fighting for the same cause. Judicial commission probing the Godhra train carnage and the post-Godhra communal violence, the new party would try to give back voice to the common people lost in the power politics of the Congress and the BJP, the party proclaimed that “it will not be broker for proximity to power but only want to get back the opposition pace that have been surrendered by the main political rivals in their bid to capture power”.
Congress seeks new allies
The six-time Gujarat MLA, who enjoys influence among tribal in parts of Gujarat, attacked the BJP, saying demonetization and the GST have “destroyed” the economy. “We will ally with the Congress and also other parties like the Left.
Apart from the JD(U), the party is also targetingthe Gujarat OBC Ekta Manch and leader of the local ThakorSena, has considerable influence among the backward classes.