Congress on Friday announced its first list comprising the names of 43 candidates for the upcoming Gujarat elections. The main Opposition party in the state has fielded Rajya Sabha MP Amee Yagnik from the Ghatlodia constituency, which is currently held by incumbent Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel.
Of the 43 seats, the Congress is in power in only one, the Scheduled Tribe reserved Jhalod constituency in Dahod district. The party has nominated former MLA from 2012-2017 Mitesh Gasariya for the seat, instead of sitting MLA Bhavesh Katara. From the Porbandar seat, the party has fielded former MLA Arjun Modhwadia, who lost to BJP’s Babu Bokhiriya in two subsequent elections – 2012 and 2017.
The first list of candidates features seven women, 10 Patel or Patidar faces, 11 STs, 10 OBCs and five SCs.
The list was declared after names of candidates were finalised during a meeting of the party’s central election committee (CEC) chaired by Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge. Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi joined the meeting online.
Election to the 182-member Gujarat Assembly is all set to take place in two phases on December 1 and December 5, and the counting of votes will take place on December 8.
While the ruling BJP has not declared names of any candidates yet, debutante Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has so far released names of 118 candidates.
The Congress is seeking to oust the BJP government which has been in power for more than two decades in the state, which is also the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
In the 2017 Gujarat elections, the BJP had won 99 seats, Congress and its allies won 79 seats, and four seats were held by others.