The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday, 23 March, released its second list of Lok Sabha candidates, which had 15 candidates from Gujarat, out of which 14 are sitting MLAs.
“The BJP has been ahead of opposition parties in declaring candidates and our campaign will start from Saturday,” Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said. He added that the party would declare the rest of the names soon.
Gujarat has 26 seats, all held by the BJP, and the party has announced candidates for 16 of them. Amit Shah’s name was declared for Gandhinagar seat, which used to be LK Advani’s constituency. The party also announced candidates for three of the five Assembly seats that will witness bypolls on the same day as the Lok Sabha elections on 23 April.
The opposition Congress has so far named candidates for four Lok Sabha seats in the state.
Surendranagar MP Devji Fatehpara was denied a ticket and has been replaced by Mahendra Munjpara, who is also from the Koli community. Munjpara has held various party positions in the district BJP, party spokesperson Prashant Vala said.
The seat was won by the Congress in the 2004 and 2009 elections. However, in 2014, Fatehpara clinched the seat for BJP with 56 percent vote share. Talking to reporters, Fatehpara said he had been denied a ticket at the behest of former minister Jayanti Kavadiya and MLA Dhanji Patel.Devji Fatehpara, MP from Surendranagar , BJP“I have been denied a ticket at the behest of Jayanti Kavadiya and Dhanji Patel. Kavadiya has been against me for a long time. Now, he has got the company of Dhanji Patel. Both of them brought in Munjpara because they wanted someone who is obedient, someone who follows their orders.”
He also threatened to resign from the BJP and work for the Congress candidate in the Lok Sabha polls. He added he would put in his "best efforts" to ensure the victory of the Congress candidate (from Surendranagar) if his community asked him to do so.Candidates from Central Gujarat
In the first list, announced on Thursday, 21 March, BJP’s National President, Amit Shah's candidature was announced for the Gandhinagar seat, replacing veteran leader LK Advani, who had held the seat since 1998.
In fact, the seat has remained a BJP fortress since 1989 when current NCP leader Shankersinh Vaghela won the constituency for the Saffron party, while Advani won the seat for the first time in 1991.Senior BJP Leader L K Advani won the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha Seat in 1991 first and then from 1998-2014. In 2019 the BJP National Party President Amit Shah will contest from Gandhinagar
In the last general elections, Advani won the seat with an unsurpassable 68.03 percent vote share. However, local BJP cadres voiced their opinion that the candidature for the seat should pass on to Amit Shah, who is a prominent national political figure.
Dalit leader Kirit Solanki has also been repeated from Ahmedabad West (SC) seat; he had clinched the constituency in the last two general elections. In 2014 he won the seat with 54 per cent vote share. He will take on Congress candidate and three time Rajya Sabha member Raju Parmar.
Ranjanben Bhatt will once again contest from Vadodara, having won from there after PM Modi vacated the seat and chose to retain Varanasi in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. This seat too is a fortress for the BJP as the party never lost in Vadodara since 1998. In the by-elections held at Vadodara in 2014, Bhatt won the seat with 71 percent vote share.
Bhatt will fight for the seat against former Vadodara district Congress president Prashant Patel. The last time Congress won the seat was in 1996 when Satyajit Gaikwad won by just 17 votes.
Similarly, Dipsinh Rathod has been repeated from Sabarkantha in North Gujarat. The seat was a Congress bastion till 2009 when Mahendrasinh Chauhan of the BJP clinched it.
In 2014 the party nominated Dipsinh Rathod who won the seat with 49.48 per cent vote share defeating former Gujarat chief Minister Shankersinh Vaghela, who had contested from the seat on a Congress ticket.
The BJP has also re-nominated Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Jashvantsinh Bhabhor from Dahod (ST) . Out of the last four general elections, Congress won the Dahod seat only once in 2009. In 2014, Bhabhor won the seat for BJP with 56.77 per cent vote share.Candidates from South Gujarat
Bharuch MP Mansukh Vasava – who was dropped from the Narendra Modi government in July 2016 – has been repeated. The seat has been BJP’s fortress since 1989 and Vasava has been elected to the Parliament from Bharuch since 1998. In the last general elections held in 2014, Vasava won the seat with 51.77 percent vote share.
The BJP has also re-nominated KC Patel from Valsad (ST) seat. BJP candidate Manibhai Chaudhury won the Valsad seat in 1996,1998 and 1999. However, in the 2004 and 2009 elections, the seat was clinched by Congress candidate Kishanbhai Patel. The seat returned to BJP in the 2014 elections after KC Patel won the seat with 55.05 percent vote share.
Prabhu Vasava has been repeated from Bardoli (ST) seat. The seat was created in 2008 as a part of the implementation of delimitation of parliamentary constituencies. In 2009, Congress won the seat and in 2014 Vasava won the seat for the BJP with 51.63 per cent vote share.
Similarly, the party has repeated CR Patil from Navsari seat, which too was created in 2008. Patil won the seat twice in 2009 and 2014; he won in 2014 with 70.72 per cent vote share.
The party repeated Rajkot MP Mohan Kundariya, who was also dropped from the Narendra Modi government in July, 2016. Rajkot has been a BJP bastion since 1989, except in 2009 when Kunvarji Bavaliya who contested the elections on a Congress ticket and clinched the seat from BJP.
However, Bavaliya joined the BJP in July last year and is a cabinet minister in the Gujarat government. In the 2014 election, Kundariya defeated Bavaliya with a 58.80 per cent vote share as the BJP was riding the Modi wave in Gujarat.
The ruling party has also repeated Punamben Madam from Jamanagar seat, where the Congress is reportedly planning to field Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel. The Seat was BJP’s bastion from 1989 to 1999.
However in 2004 and 2009, the seat was reclaimed by Congress’ Vikram Madam, who was soundly defeated in 2014 by his distant relative Punamben Madam with a 56.81 per cent vote share.
Other leaders who have been re-nominated from Saurashtra region are Naran Kachhadia from Amreli and Bhartiben Shiyal from Bhavnagar. The Amreli Seat too has been a BJP fortress since 1989, barring the 2004 general elections when the Congress candidate won the seat.
Naran Kacchadia reclaimed Amreli in 2009 and in 2014 returned to Parliament with 53.99 per cent vote share. The BJP has never lost Bhavnagar since 1991. The incumbent MP Bhartiben Shiyal won the seat for the first time in 2014 with 59.90 per cent vote share.
In Kutch the BJP has repeated Vinod Chavda, who won the last general election with 59.9 per cent vote share. The seat has been in BJP’s kitty since 1996.
Also Read: Hardik Patel wants to contest from JamnagarFormer Gujarat MLA Jawahar Chavda (left) joined the BJP after quitting the Congress party. He was welcomed to the party by Minister of State for Home Pradipsinh Jadeja. Assembly Seat Candidates
Jawahar Chavda and Parsotam Sabariya, both Congress MLAs who had resigned from the Assembly and joined the BJP, have been given tickets from Manavadar and Dhangradhra respectively. Raghavji Patel will contest from Jamnagar Rural assembly seat.
Chavda won the last two assembly election for the Congress from Manavada. In 2017 he had clinched the seat with 57.39 per cent voter share. Whereas Sabariya won the Dhangradhra seat for the Congress with 50.18 per cent voter share.
Vallabh Dharaviya, who was the Congress MLA from Jamnagar (rural) seat before switching over to the BJP, has, however, not been given a ticket. He had won the seat with 47.79 per cent vote share.
(With Inputs from PTI)