AAP Releases 1st List of 11 Candidates for Gujarat Assembly Polls
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday, 21 October, declared its first list of candidates for eleven assembly constituencies in Gujarat including Rajkot (West), while stating that it would not contest from the seats where it is weak.
The AAP plans to field businessman Rajesh Bhut from Rajkot (West), which is currently represented by chief minister Vijay Rupani.
Delhi minister and AAP's Gujarat election in-charge Gopal Rai told reporters in Ahmedabad that the names were finalised at a meeting of the party's political affairs committee in Delhi on Friday.
There are a total of 182 assembly seats in Gujarat. The election schedule is yet to be announced.
The constituency-wise candidates announced by the AAP are: Anil Verma (Bapunagar), Ramesh Patel (Unjha), Rajesh Bhut (Rajkot (West)), JJ Mewada (Danilimda), Nimeesha Khunt (Gondal), MD Manajaria (Lathi), Arjun Rathwa (Chhota Udepur), Rajendra Patel (Padra), Hanif Jamadar (Karjan), Rajiv Pandey (Pardi) and Ram Dhaduk (Kamrej).
Of these, nine constituencies are currently represented by BJP MLAs, while Danilimda in Ahmedabad and Chhota Udepur are with the Congress.
“We want to give a direct fight to the ruling party, and we will not contest from any seat where we are weak and where there is possibility of division of votes which may help the BJP,” Rai said, adding that the party will contest from only those seats which fulfill the criteria decided by its high command.
Candidates for more seats would be declared in the coming days.
He asserted that AAP's contest is against the BJP and it will not end up helping the ruling party by eating into Congress' votes. “Congress appears to be more scared of AAP than the BJP as some of its leaders say that the AAP is here to help the BJP. To form the government in Gujarat, a party needs to win 92 seats. AAP has fielded candidates on 11 seats. We have not touched the other 171 seats yet,” Rai said.
Rajkot (West) constituency was chosen particularly as the AAP wanted to give a fight to the BJP in its "fortress", he said.
Narendra Modi had contested from this seat when he became chief minister for the first time, and so did Rupani after he became chief minister replacing Anandiben Patel.
"A few days ago, some businessmen and traders, who are predominant in this constituency, met us and said they have been badly hit by the GST. Rajesh Bhut is a businessman and will contest against Rupani. On 29 October, we will hold a ‘Chunauti Sabha (Challenge Rally)' there," the AAP leader said.