BJP’s first list of candidates for Gujarat polls has 17 turncoats, 38 new faces

All 11 sitting MLAs from Ahmedabad and all four MLAs from Rajkot have been denied tickets. Several senior leaders have opted out of the fray, evidently following the BJP leadership’s directive

BJP’s first list of candidates for Gujarat polls has 17 turncoats, 38 new faces
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PTI

In order to curb the anti-incumbency factor and minimise the damage to its electoral prospects in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls, the BJP has denied tickets to senior party leaders and ministers. Instead, the party which has been ruling the state for the last 27 years, is relying on turncoats and new faces in its bid to retain power.  

An analysis of the first list of candidates issued by the BJP on Thursday reveals that there are 17 turncoats and 38 new faces in it. The list of 160 candidates includes 14 female, 13 SC and 24 ST candidates.  

Bhagabhai Barad, who joined the BJP on Wednesday after quitting the Congress, has been rewarded with a ticket.  

Another Congressman, Mohansinh Rathva, who joined the BJP along with his two sons just two days ago, was also rewarded. His son Rajendrasinh has been fielded from the Chhotaudepur seat by the BJP. 

The BJP has changed its candidate in Morbi constituency, where 135 people died after a suspension bridge collapsed on October 30. Former MLA Amrutia, who reportedly rescued people by jumping into the river after the mishap, will now fight on the BJP symbol from there. The sitting BJP MLA, Brijesh Merja, has been denied the ticket. 

It is important to mention here that all 11 sitting MLAs from Ahmedabad and all four MLAs from Rajkot have been denied tickets.   

Former Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani, former deputy CM Nitin Patel, former senior ministers Bhupendrasinh Chudasama and Pradipsinh Jadeja along with Saurabh Patel and Kaushik Patel have opted out of the fray, saying “others should be given a chance”. 

Observers say that the BJP high command asked these leaders to step aside due to apprehensions of electoral reverses.  

Former working president of the Gujarat Congress Hardik Patel who joined the BJP this year, will contest the elections from Viramgam constituency.

Cricketer Ravindra Jadeja’s wife Rivaba has been fielded from Jamnagar North. 

Observers say that by rewarding turncoats and replacing sitting MLAs, the saffron party is trying to maintain an uninterrupted winning streak in the state Assembly polls which it has been winning since 1995.  

In the 2017 assembly elections, BJP had won 99 seats – down by 16 seats from the previous 2012 elections.  

 Though the entry of AAP in the fray has added a new dimension to the political scene, observers say that the main challenger to the BJP is still the Congress. In 2017, when Rahul Gandhi campaigned hard in the state, the Congress had won 77 seats, the highest since the 1985 election, when it had won 149 seats.

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