The ruling BJP in Gujarat today released its fourth list. In the latest one, the party has named Piyushbhai Desaai as its candidate from Navsari. The party is banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s charisma and Amit Shah’s organisational skill to retain power there. Seeking to keep Rahul Gandhi-led Congress and Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) at bay, BJP has projected Vijay Rupani as its Chief Ministerial candidate. It had yesterday released its third list of 28 candidates for the Gujarat Assembly polls, fielding former minister Saurabh Patel from Botad and former state party chief R C Faldu from Jamnagar-South seat. The polling for the two-phase elections in the state will take place on December 9 and 14 and votes will be counted on December 18.
In the third list, the party has dropped as many as 16 sitting MLAs, including three ministers, and given tickets to 10 legislators. The ministers who have been dropped are Jayanti Kavadia (the MLA from Dhrangadhra seat in Surendranagar), Vallabh Vaghasia (Savarkundla seat in Amreli) and Nanu Vanani (Katargam seat in Surat city). Kavadia recently announced that he was not willing to contest the polls and instead wanted to work to strengthen the party.
The parliamentary secretary in the Rupani’s government, Jetha Solanki, the legislator from Kodinar (SC) seat, was also dropped. Solanki resigned as the MLA and from all party posts two days ago, alleging that Dalits faced atrocities under the BJP-led state government. Sitting MLA from the Jamnagar-South seat, Vasuben Trivedi, who was the women and child development minister when Anandiben Patel was the chief minister from 2014 to 2016, has also been dropped by the BJP this time. Former state BJP president R C Faldu has been given ticket for the Jamnagar-South seat. The Gujarat Assembly speaker and BJP’s Dalit face in the state, Ramanbhai Vora, who represents Idar (SC) seat of Sabarkantha, has been picked to contest from Dasada(SC) seat of Surendranagar, as the sitting MLA, Punambhai Makwana, has been denied ticket.
Meanwhile, CM Rupani had filed his nomination for the next month’s polls on Monday. He also attacked the Congress, saying the opposition party has “outsourced” itself to three prominent activists in the state as it has “nothing” of its own. With the “son of Gujarat” Narendra Modi helming the central government, the state will scale new heights under the BJP, he said at a gathering here, adding “we will have to ensure that our pride is not hurt”. The BJP leader, accompanied by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, filed his nomination from Rajkot (West) Assembly seat at 12:39 pm, described as “vijay muhurat” (auspicious time) by party leaders.
Rupani is the sitting MLA from the constituency where voting will be held in the first phase on December 9.