<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After much delay, the Congress announced its first list of 77 candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections late on Sunday night. The list comprises 13 sitting MLAs, and is packed with Patel candidates, clearly indicating that the party is banking heavily on the community. OBCs have also got a significant share of tickets.As soon as the list came out, violence erupted in parts of Surat late on Sunday.The party has repeated sitting MLA Shaktisinh Gohil from Mandvi seat, while Indranil Rajguru will take on Chief Minister Vijay Rupani from Rajkot West constituency. Mohammed Javed Pirzada (Wankaner), Jawahar Chavda (Manavadar), Harshad Ribadiya (Visavadar), Punja Vansh (Una), Paresh Dhanani (Amreli), Pravin Rathod (Palitana), Anand Chaudhari (Mandvi ST), Punabhai Gamit (Vyara ST), Mangal Gavit (Dangs ST), Ishwar Patel (Dharampur ST) and Jitu Chaudhary (Kaprada ST) are other MLAs who have been repeated.Senior Gujarat Congress leaders such as Arjun Modhwadia (Porbandar), Tushar Chaudhary (Mahuva ST) and Kunvarji Bavaliya (Jasdan) also figure in the list of 77.The candidates declared will contest in the first phase of elections on December 9. This means 12 candidates for the first phase are yet to be declared.Party sources said that the remaining candidates will be declared on Monday. The last day of filing nominations is November 21.Patidars dominate first listSeeking to take advantage of the Patidar community’s disenchantment with the BJP, the Congress has named as many as 22 Patidar candidates in its initial list. They have been fielded mainly from seats in Rajkot, Amreli, Junagadh, and Surat, which are dominated by the community.Incidentally, some of the Patels figuring in the list are connected with the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS). These include Lalit Vasoya (Dhoraji seat) and Amit Thummar (Junagadh).20 OBCs make the cutOther backward classes also have got a significant share of tickets in the Congress’s first list. Among OBCs, there are 16 candidates from the highly influential Koli community.There are 11 ST candidates, seven SC candidates, three Kshatriyas, three Muslims, one Brahmin, among others in the list.Only two women in listThe list of 77 candidates includes only two women – Bhavna Patel from Navsari and Nita Rathod from Bhavnagar East.Three Muslims get ticketsThe Congress has fielded three Muslim candidates. They include sitting MLA from Wankaner Mohammed Javed Pirzada, Suleman Patel from Vagra, and Iqbal Patel from Surat West seat.Interestingly, Congress has nominated Nitin Bharucha as its candidate from the minority dominated Surat East seat.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: Congress releases first list of 77, packed with Patidars, OBCs