On BJP’s first list for Gujarat, Rivaba Jadeja, Hardik Patel and other Congress renegades

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The BJP on Thursday announced the first list of 160 candidates for the Gujarat Assembly elections to be held next month. While Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel has been repeated as the candidate for Ghatlodia constituency in Ahmedabad, the most notable names on the list are those of Patidar quota stirs leader Hardik Patel and Rivaba Jadeja, the wife of cricketer Ravindra Jadeja.

Gujarat party official Bhupender Yadav announced the list in the presence of BJP Head of State CR Paatil, Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and National Party General Secretary Tarun Chug in New Delhi. Yadav said of the 160 declared candidates, 13 are from Scheduled Castes, 24 are from Scheduled Tribes and 14 are women. Out of those 160 seats, Yadav added, 69 incumbent MPs were repeated while out of 38 seats, party candidates were changed.

During his interaction, Yadav also said senior BJP Gujarat leaders like former chief minister Vijay Rupani, former deputy chief minister Nitin Patel, former ministers Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, RC Faldu and Saurabh Patel had written to the party seeking not to contest the elections to make new faces to challenge the elections to the Assembly.

Important candidates

Rivaba Jadeja was given the party ticket for the northern constituency of Jamnagar and Hardik is the candidate for the seat of Viramgam in the Ahmedabad district. Prominent party candidates include BJP Ahmedabad City Chairman Amit Shah (Ellisbridge Constituency), Amit Thaker (Vejalpur), former Minister Chiman Shapariya (Jamjodhpur), Pabubha Manek, whose election in the Previous elections were annulled by the High Court of Gujarat (Dwarka), former Minister and Congress renegade Jawahar Chavda (Manavadar), party spokesman Mahesh Kaswala (Savarkundla).

Dalit religious leader Shambhuprasad Tundiya (Gadhada), former Minister Shankar Chaudhary (Tharad), Jitendra Patel alias Bhagar (Naranpura), Bhushan Bhatt (Jamalpur-Khadia), former Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Municipality of Ahmedabad Amul Bhatt (Maninagar), former Minister Ramanlal Vora (Idar) and former MLA CK Raulji (Godhra) were also nominated. Raulji is a former congressman who joined the BJP and was among the members of the committee that authorized the release of convicts in 2002. Bilkis Bano Case.

Shankar Chaudhary had lost the Gujarat Assembly election in 2017 in the Vav constituency of Banaskantha. This time he received a ticket from Tharad’s headquarters in Banaskantha. While Ramanlal Vora, the party’s veteran Dalit leader, will compete from Idar, incumbent MP and Gujarati movie star Hitu Kanodiya has been dropped. Koli strongman and also a fishing community leader Prashottam Solanki and his brother Hira Solanki were nominated as candidates from Bhavnagar Rural and Rajula respectively.

Congressional renegade, names dropped

The list also includes a number of congressional defectors. Among them, Ashwin Kotwal (Khedbrahma), Rajendrasinh, the son of Mohansinh Rathva who resigned from Congress two days ago (Chhota Udepur), and Bhagwan Barad who also resigned from Congress on Wednesday (Talala), Harshad Ribadiya (Visavadar ), Manilal Vaghela (Vadgam) and Balvantsinh Rajput (Sidhpur).

A number of senior BJP MPs have been removed from their constituencies. They include Nimaben Acharya (Bhuj), Brijesh Merja (Morbi), Rajendra Trivedi (Raopura) and Madhu Shrivastav (Waghodia). The party fielded Keshavlal Patel from Bhuj, former MLA Kanti Amrutiya from Morbi, Balkrushna Shukla from Raopura and Ashwin Patel from Waghodia. After not getting the party ticket, Shrivastav can fight as an independent as he threatened.

In the prestigious Rajkot West seat held by Rupani, the BJP has lined up Dr. Darshita Shah. While on another BJP stronghold Mehsana, which was hitherto held by Nitin Patel, the party fielded Mukesh Dwarkadas Patel. At the Rajkot South seat, Ramesh Tilara, considered close to Khodaldham Trust Chairman Naresh Patel, received the ticket.

The party also sacked controversial MP Kesrisinh Solanki of Matar, whose name appears on the list of persons named by the defendants during the October communal clash in the Undhela village of the taluka. In Thasra, the son of former provincial deputy Ramsinh Parmar, Yogendra, had his chance. Parmar, chairman of Amul Dairy, had joined the BJP from Congress in 2017.

The Gujarat Assembly election is expected to be held in two phases, from December 1 to 5, to elect 182 members.

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