Seasoned MLAs, Cong Rebels in BJP’s First List for Gujarat Polls
BJP’s list of candidates includes five former Congress MLAs and the former SP of Chhota Udepur gets a ticket too.
The suspense over the BJP’s first list of candidates for the upcoming Gujarat assembly election is finally over, with the ruling party preferring to field 55 sitting MLAs and thereby hoping to retain those seats at a time when the Opposition led by the Congress and its supporting groupings are expected to put up some challenge.
Of the 70 names declared today, 49 are from the BJP, one Independent candidate, and five who were formerly Congress MLAS. The key names include Chief Minister Vijay Rupani who will contest from Rajkot (West), Deputy CM Nitin Patel from Mehsana and state BJP president Jitu Vaghani who will contest from Bhavnagar (West).
Rajkot West is of prime importance for the BJP as Prime Minister Narendra Modi contested his first ever elections there and won in a 2002 bypoll. It was BJP’s Vajubhai Vala who clinched the seat from the Congress in the 1984 elections and remained the MLA till 2002. He again became the MLA from the constituency as Modi switched his constituency to Maninagar in Ahmedabad for the 2002 assembly elections.
Vala held fort till August 2014, when he was the incumbent Gujarat assembly speaker and resigned as the MLA from Rajkot West after his appointment as the Karnataka Governor. Rupani was nominated by the BJP to contest his vacant seat. and he won the bypoll on held on 19 October 2014 by a huge margin.
Besides the seasoned BJP MLAs, new faces also figure on the list, in the form of past Congress legislators who switched loyalties during the recent Rajya Sabha election that saw Ahmed Patel go against Amit Shah. The former Congress legislators include Raghavji Pateĺ who will contest from Jamnagar Rural, Dharmendra Jadeja (Jamnagar North), Ramsinh Parmar (Thasra), Mansinh Chauhan (Balasinor) and CK Raulji who will be fielded from Godhra.
Chhota Udepur Superintendent of Police, PC Baranda, who took voluntary retirement from service to join politics, has been given a ticket from Bhiloda constituency in Aravalli district of north-east Gujarat. Baranda’s resignation was approved by the state government as late as Wednesday.
Chhota Udepur SP, PC Baranda, who took VRS from IPS has been given a ticket from Bhiloda constituency in Aravalli district,
BJP Rebels Dropped
Two MLAs, Varsha Doshi of Wadhwan and Nalin Kotadiya of Dhari, were dropped from the BJP list. Dhanjibhai Patel will contest from Wadhwan whereas Dilipbhai Sanghani will contest from Dhari. Kotadiya, who was with Keshubhai Patel’s Gujarat Parivartan Party, became part of the BJP after GPP merged with it. However, he had rebelled against the BJP as he openly supported PAAS and voted against NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind.
Nalin Kotadiya had rebelled against the BJP as he openly supported PAAS and voted against NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind.
The seat of BJP MLA Bavku Udhad, who is the sitting MLA from the Lathi constituency, has been changed to Amreli.
Ministers in the List
Key ministers of the cabinet have also been retained in the first list issued by the BJP. These include Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama who will contest from Dholka on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, Minister of State (Health and Family Welfare) Shankar Chaudhary who will contest from Vav along with Chiman Saparia (Jamjodhpur), Rajendra Trivedi (Ravpura), Dilip Thakor (Chanasma) and Atmaram Parmar (Gadhda).
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