The Congress has released its third list of 76 candidates for the second phase of the Gujarat Assembly polls. Filing of nominations will end tomorrow. The party had previously announced the names of 86 candidates in two phases. However, the party could not finalise names of candidates in 20 seats. Senior party leader Oscar Fernandes released the third list to the media. The party is out of power in Gujarat for more than two decades.
Polling for the two-phase elections in the state for 182 Assembly seats, will take place on December 9 and 14. Votes will be counted on December 18. In the first phase, 89 seats from Saurashtra and South Gujarat will go on polls in the first phase, while 93 seats in central and northern region would go for elections in the second phase.
Earlier on Friday, the BJP released its fifth list of 13 candidates for the second phase of Assembly polls, dropping two sitting MLAs. Prahlad Patel, who recently joined the BJP ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls after resigning from Congress, did not get a ticket from Vijapur constituency which he represented as MLA. The party has fielded Ramanbhai Patel from the seat. Of these 13 seats, seven were held by the Congress, including Vijapur. Among the candidates named in fifth list included Gujarati actor Hitesh Kanodiya and BJP MP Prabhatsinh Chauhan’s daughter-in- law Suman Pravinsinh Chauhan.
Amit Chaudhary, who earlier resigned as Congress MLA after allegedly cross-voting in support BJP candidate during the Rajya Sabha polls recently, has been given the ticket for Manasa seat in Gandhinagar which he represented. The party has retained four of its sitting MLAs – Ranchhod Rabari (Patan), Narayan Patel (Unjha), Vallabh Kakadiya (Thakkarbapa Nagar) and Pankaj Desai (Nadiad). The BJP has dropped Laljibhai Koli Patel, its MLA from Dhandhuka seat in Ahmedabad. He has been replaced by Kalubhai Dabhi.
For Idar seat, the party as fielded actor Hitesh Kanodiya, which Gujarat Assembly Speaker Ramanlal Vora had won in 2012. The party has, however, now fielded Vora from Dasada (SC) seat. For Kaalol seat in Panchmahal district, BJP dropped sitting MLA Arvindsinh Chauhan and chose Suman Pravinsinh Chauhan.
Meanwhile, in a major shock for the Congress, its spokesperson Rekhaben Chaudhary resigned from the party.