<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For BJP and Congress, it is a fight for prestige in the Porbandar Assembly constituency over the restoration of the city’s status as Paris of the Saurashtra region and its marketing within and outside India as the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi.For a change, there is no talk of quota for Patidars or demonetization. But traders cite fall in business after the rollout of GST and submit that BJP needs to bring in further changes to arrest fall in its rating.BJP, which had won the seat in 2012 poll, lists out a number of steps initiated by the government to upgrade the city’s infrastructure and keep its Paris status intact. However, the Congress blames the state government and local administration for the poor state of roads, sewage disposal and holding them responsible for surge in pollution. Both, however, agree that both Porbandar and Paris are magical lands of love and beauty and the architecture is of contemporary age. But they differ in their approach.As far as the city’s importance as Mahatma Gandhi’s birthplace goes, BJP puts the onus on the Congress for doing little for the preservation of its status while in power in the state and at the Centre. On its part, the Congress claims that the BJP has been using the names of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to gain political mileage.This apart, both parties have stepped up efforts to lure politically decisive Other Backward Communities (OBCs), including Kolis and Kharva, Meher and also the Muslim community to win the seat in the ensuing election.The Congress wants to cash in on resentment within the Kharva community over the issue of grant of subsidy in a time-bound manner and lack of substantial development in fishing infrastructure. On the other hand, the BJP is projecting the steps taken by the government for the fishing community, which includes launch of development of port terminal with the investment of Rs 15 crore, construction of jetty, reinstatement of subsidies and introduction of few more.Khimjibhai Motivaras, the BJP’s Porbandar city president, who comes from the Kharva community, told DNA, “Congress president Rahul Gandhi is a ‘parachute’ leader who lacks knowledge of grassroots and, therefore, his party is engaged in luring the Kharva community and fisherfolks in general by neglecting the good work done by the state government. They will vote for the BJP and the party will retain its hold in Porbandar and also in the state.’’Kiritbhai Morwadia, BJP’s OBC cell chief, said of the 146 OBC, 36 communities are in Porbandar alone, and he has been holding everyday workshops for members of two castes to mobilise support.However, Congress leader Ramdevbhai Modhwadia counters BJP’s claims, saying that the Kharva community by and large is angry with the party for its neglect, while members of Meher and other castes from OBC want a change and they will vote for Congress.

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Porbandar is a prestige issue for BJP and Cong