Gujarat elections: BJP, Congress unveil final candidate lists
Ahmedabad/New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress released their final candidates lists on Monday, the last day of filing nominations for the second phase of Gujarat elections to be held on 14 December.
Congress, which released a list of 76 candidates late on Sunday, named its final 14 candidates on Monday, leaving two seats for allies and extending support to Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, who is contesting as an independent from Vadgam (SC).
The party is not fielding any candidate from the Vadgam seat (reserved for Scheduled Castes, or SCs) in a gesture of support to Mevani.
Ninety-three seats in the central and north Gujarat region will go to the polls in the second phase, while 89 seats in Saurashtra and South Gujarat will go to the polls in the first phase on 9 December.
Congress has also fielded Other Backward Classes (OBC) leader Alpesh Thakor from the Radhanpur constituency in Patan district. Thakor recently joined the Congress at a rally in Gandhinagar in the presence of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi. The Radhanpur seat, currently held by the BJP, has a strong Thakor community presence.
The party has left two seats in the second phase of Gujarat elections for its ally Bharatiya Tribal Party, led by former Janata Dal (United) legislator Chhotu Vasava.
Four sitting members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) who were not given tickets include Dharshi Khanpura (Kankrej), Hira Patel (Lunawada), Joitabhai Patel (Dhanera) and Natvarsinh Thakor (Mahudha).
Congress, which has been out of power in Gujarat for over two decades now, has been wooing three caste leaders—Mevani, Thakor and Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convener Hardik Patel—to defeat the BJP. The party has fielded senior high court lawyer and party leader Babu Mangukia from the Thakkar Nagar seat in Ahmedabad city. Mangukia had initially fought Hardik Patel’s sedition case.
Former Gujarat Congress president Siddharth Patel has been fielded for the Dabhoi seat.
Meanwhile, on Monday, BJP released its final candidate list for the Gujarat elections. The party has named Sureshbhai Patel to contest the Maninagar constituency which was represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2012 Gujarat elections.
Interestingly, former chief minister Anandiben Patel’s name is not on the list. Senior leader Bhupendrabhai Patel will represent Ghatlodia, a constituency held by Anandiben Patel in 2012. Before the start of the preparations for Gujarat elections, the former chief minister had announced that she would not contest this time.
Kaushikbhai Patel’s name has been announced from Naranpura constituency. The seat was represented by BJP president Amit Shah in the 2012 Gujarat elections.
This is the BJP’s sixth candidate list and the party has announced the names of 34 candidates in it, including 12 sitting MLAs.
In the new list, the BJP has dropped minister Rohit Patel from contesting the Anand seat. The other MLAs not given tickets are Nagarji Thakor from Radhanpur, R.M. Patel from Asarwa (SC) and Vinchhia Bhuria from Limkheda (scheduled tribe).
Former minister and spokesperson Jaynarayan Vyas will be contesting the Siddhpur seat which he had lost in the 2012 polls.
PTI contributed to this story.