The Congress on Friday approved the names of 80 candidates for the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly elections that will be held on December 9, the Hindustan Times reported. The party is likely to announce the names of its candidates by November 16, The Hindu reported.

During its central election committee meeting, the party also earmarked 20-25 seats for the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti. Patel was supposed to forward to the Congress his list of candidates by Thursday, but it did not arrive by the time the Congress panel met. Patel is now expected to send his list in a few days after which the Congress will finalise the names.

Patel leaders within the Congress have asked for 60 seats for the members of the Patidar community. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi is reportedly willing to field them in at least 50 constituencies, according to the Hindustan Times.

On October 21, the Congress had invited Patel to join hands to fight the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Assembly elections in Gujarat.

The Assembly elections in Gujarat will be held in two phases. The first phase in 89 constituencies across 19 districts will be held on December 9 while the second phase in 93 constituencies across 14 districts will be held on December 14. The counting of votes in the state will take take place on December 18.