Reposing faith in its sitting MPs, the BJP has decided to repeat many of them in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Of the names of 15 candidates announced on Saturday evening, 14 have been repeated. If there is any fear of anti-incumbency, it does not reflect in the list. Also, sources say, the party did not want to trigger discontent by announcing new names on seats where the MPs have done good work and also fit the bill as far as caste equation is concerned.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said, “BJP has announced 16 candidates out of 26 Lok Sabha seats. BJP’s 4-day Vijay Sankalp Sammelan will begin from tomorrow (March 24). Not only are we ahead of Congress in releasing names of candidates, but we will also win all 26 seats again.” Talking about a new candidate on Surendranagar seat, he said, “We decided on the basis of proposal of local workers.”
The list of 15
Out of 15 candidates, two are Patidars, two Kshatriyas, two Kolis, one Brahmin and one Ahir. Much on expected lines, MPs Vinod Chavda (Kutch), Mohan Kundariya (Rajkot),Naran Kachhadiya (Amreli), Devusinh Chauhan (Kheda), Jaswant Sinh Bhabhor (Dahod), Ranjan Bhatt (Vadodara), CR Patil (Navsari), Mansukh Vasava (Bharuch) and KC Patel (Valsad) were repeated.
Suspense over Vadodara, Rajkot seats ends
The most important announcement came for Rajkot and Vadodara seats from where the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was being talked about. Modi had fought the 2014 election from Vadodara as well. Hence, party workers were curious to know who would contest from the seat this time. The announcement of Ranjan Bhatt’s candidature has made it clear that Modi will not fight from there.
BJP also repeated Mohan Kundariya from Rajkot to avoid disturbing the caste equation there. Names of Paresh Gajera and Dhansukh Bhanderi were discussed for the seat. The party was expected to spring up surprises on a few seats but even there, MPs have been repeated. Madam will fight again from Jamnagar. Following Patidar leader Hardik Patel’s wish to contest from there, it was believed that BJP would field Raghavji Patel, looking at the big number of Patidar votes, or even Rivaba Jadeja.
In Gujarat, there are total six Lok Sabha seats reserved for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Out of these six seats, five names are declared by BJP and all are repeated. On both the Dalit seats, BJP has repeated Vankar candidates Vinod Chavda (Kutch) and Kirit Solanki (Ahmedabad West). It was believed that BJP may give one seat to Rohit community but ended up repeating the two candidates. On three tribal seats— Dahod, Bardoli and Bharuch— sitting MPs Jaswantsinh Bhabhor, Prabhu Vasava and Mansukh Vasava were repeated.
Out of 15 seats, three have women sitting MPs. These include Ranjan Bhatt (Vadodara), Bhartiben Shiyal (Bhavnagar) and Poonam Madam (Jamnagar). All of them have been repeated. Now, it remains to be seen if the party will repeat the other two women MPs, Surat’s Darshana Jardosh and Mehsana’s Jayashree Patel.
Buzz in the BJP is that most names on remaining 10 seats will be fresh ones. One of these is Ahmedabad east, whose sitting MP Paresh Rawal has announced that he will not fight LS elections. Minister Dilip Thakor is being considered on Patan seat. The name of Patidar leader is being talked about on Ahmedabad East or Mehsana seat. On Porbandar seat, Jayesh Radadiya may replace his father Vitthal Radadiya. With local opposition to Ramsinh Rathwa’s candidature from Chhota Udepur seat, there is delay for declaration on this seat.
Benevolent doc gets ticket
Dr Mahendra Munajpara’s name was a surprise announcement. Munjapara (50), belonging to the Koli community, is known for providing inexpensive treatment to patients in Surendranagar. He charges Rs 2 as consultation fee. He did his MBBS from NHL medical college in 1991 and MD in General Medicine from the same college in 1995. Munjapara, assistant professor at CU Shah Medical College, offers services at Janseva hospital in Surendranagar and is also a central council member in Indian Medical Association. It is likely that he will face strong fight from Koli leader and Congress MLA from Limbdi Somabhai Patel (69) who is in politics for over four decades. Munjpara has been associated with the saffron party for some time now, but this is the first time he will fight a major election.
Assembly tickets for 3 ex-Congmen
The BJP also announced the names of three candidates for the three assembly seats, all of them who have left the Congress. Along with announcing names on 15 Lok Sabha seats BJP announced names on Manavadar, Jamnagar Rural and Dhrangadhra seats. Jawahar Chavda, a 4-time MLA from Manavadar on Congress seat joined BJP recently and he was given cabinet minister’s position with Tourism and Fisheries departments in his portfolio. He will be contesting on BJP seat from the same constituency of Manavadar.
While ticket for Jamnagar Rural is given to Raghavjibhai Patel who joined BJP during Rajyasbha elections in 2017. Raghavjibhai lost election by 6,397 against Vallabhbhai Dharaviya of Congress in 2017 elections. After Vallabhbhai Dharaviya of Congress joined BJP resigning from the post of MLA early this month the seat is vacant and earlier turncoat Raghavjibhai is given ticket by BJP. Koli leader Parshottam Sabariya from Dhrangadhra left Congress party to join BJP has been given ticket to congest from BJP.
Koli leader and turncoat from Congress Kunvarji Bavaliya of Jasdan took Parshottam Sabariya to Dhrangadhra. Sabariya defeated BJP candidate Sonagra Dhanjibhai by 13,916 votes in 2017 elections. Sabariya was arrested in October 2018 for his alleged involvement in the irrigation scam. He is out on bail and joined the BJP along with Jawahar Chavda.