Gujarat polls: No place for Muslims in saffron party's list of 84 candidates
Ahmedabad: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced candidates for 83 out of 87 seats where voting will take place in the first phase of polling on December 13.
The party has also announced officially that Chief Minister Narendra Modi will contest from Maninagar for the third consecutive time. The Maninagar seat goes to polls on December 17, in the second phase of elections.
Modi and other top leaders of state BJP were in New Delhi on Thursday to hold consultations with national BJP leaders to finalise the list of candidates.
For strategic reasons, the party has not declared its candidates for four seats in Saurashtra.
Gujarat Parivartan Party general secretary Gordhan Zadaphia, sitting BJP MLA Dr Kanu Kalsaria and Congress MP Vitthal Radadia are likely to contest the polls from these seats.
Zadaphia is likely to contest from Gondal seat while BJP MLA from Mahuva Dr Kanu Kalsaria, is likely to contest from Gariyadhar.
There is also a buzz that Congress MP from Porbandar, Vitthal Radadia, will contest from Dhoraji. Radadia was recently in the news for brandishing a gun at a toll plaza employee. Besides Dhoraji, the BJP has also not announced its candidate for Keshod constituency in Junagadh.
What is interesting to note that despite the overtures towards the minority community, there is not a single Muslim candidate in the BJP list. However, sources said that the party could field Muslim candidates on a couple of seats, including a seat in Ahmedabad.
The BJP has fielded Minister of State for Water Resources, Kanu Bhalala from Visavadar seat. Former CM Keshubhai Patel is also expected to contest from the seat, setting the stage for an interesting battle between him and his one-time chela.
BJP sprung a big surprise by giving ticket to Poonam Madam, daughter of late Congress leader Hemant Madam and niece of Congress MP Vikram Madam. Poonam’s inclusion was announced by the party on Thursday evening, and her name was included in the list late in the evening.
The party has dropped 8 MLAs, including two-time MLA from Savarkundla, Kalu Virani. Finance minister Vaju Vala will contest from Rajkot West while minister and Koli strongman Parshottam Solanki will face leader of opposition Shaktisinh Gohil in Bhavnagar Rural.
The BJP has also given a chance to 10 youths who are all below 30 years of age. Former president of BJP youth wing Jitu Waghani has been fielded from Bhavnagar West and BJP youth wing general secretary Harsh Sanghvi from Majura in Surat.
Janak Patel of Bagdana's Bapa Sitaram Trust has been given ticket from Karanj in Surat.
(with inputs by Bhavesh Shah)