For the 2017 elections, the Congress extended support to Patidar leader, Hardik Patel in a bid to cash in on the Patidar community's anger. Patidars have lent their support to the BJP for the past two decades, but Mr Patel's sustained agitation in recent times, to demand reservations for the community have led to this support diminishing.
Apart from Mr Patel, two more causes for worry for the BJP emerged. SC/ST leader Jignesh Mevani also took up the cause of the Dalits, by throwing his hat into the election ring and contesting the elections from Vadgam as an independent candidate.
OBC leader Alpesh Thakor also joined the election fray, launching a counter-agitation to Mr Patel's for reservations. The BJP faced another challenge when Mr Thakor went on to join the Congress, while Mr Mevani urged his supporters to not vote for the BJP, leading him and Mr Patel to move closer to the Congress for support.
However, exit polls have revealed that the BJP is again set to win Gujarat while the Congress has not made much of a dent. NDTV's poll of exit polls shows the BJP is going to win 116 seats, while the Congress will win 65 seats, which is just 5 more seats than it currently holds.
Although exit polls can be wrong, they show that the Congress has possibly failed to convert caste-based anger into votes and the BJP emerging unscathed from Gujarat's changing caste dynamics.
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