These BJP candidates will play key role in Gujarat polls

New Delhi, Dec 1: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has released the list of candidates who will contest in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls. The list has named candidates for Gujarat’s assembly seats. The polls will be held in two phases, on December 9 and 14. Here we bring the most prominent faces of BJP who will play key role in the elections in the state: 

The BJP has given tickets to five rebel Congress who left their party over some issues and joined the party during the Presidential election and the Rajya Sabha election of Ahmed Patel. The five former Congressmen who got BJP tickets this year include the names of Raghavji Patel, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, Ramsinh Parmar, Mansinh Chauhan and C K Raolji. These five Congress leaders are believed to be the loyalists of former Gujarat CM and Jan Vikalp Morcha founder Shankarsinh Vaghela, who has also abandoned Congress sometime back. 

There have been widespread speculations over whether the BJP would cut many of its sitting MLAs in the list to beat any anti-incumbency factor, the first list seems to have defused those claims. The BJP has repeated 50 sitting MLAs in the first list. The MLAs who have been repeated are Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, Gujarat health minister Shankar Chaudhary. 

The BJP has also included the names of 16 Patidars, that includes Deputy CM Nitinbhai Patel. The BJP has been beleaguered in the face of a Patel agitation led by 24-year-old Hardik Patel. The BJP has also tried to reach out to the Patidar community and has put the ball in the Congress’s court. If the Congress names less than 16 out of 70 names, it  may risk being seen as less pro-Patidar than the BJP. If it fields larger number of Patidars, then it may risk alienating other communities such as OBCs in Gujarat.

Rupani will contest again from Rajkot West, where he is likely to face a tough fight from Indranil Rajguru, who is currently a Congress MLA from Rajkot East but has openly declared that he will contest from Rajkot West this election.

Deputy CM Nitin Patel will also be a key BJP candidate and alll set to contest again from Mehsana, the hotbed of Patidar agitation. The seat has remained with the BJP since 1990 but the influence of Hardik Patel and the Patidar agitation may leave a dent in the support base of the party in the constituency.

The list includes 16 new names. The most prominent one is P.C. Baranda, former superintendent of police of Chhota Udaipur. Baranda had requested voluntary retirement from the police, which was approved by the state government on November 15, the same day he joined the BJP. The former Gujarat cadre IPS officer shall now contest the assembly election from Bhiloda seat, Chhota Udaipur, which is reserved for STs. Ketan Inamdar, who had won as an independent candidate from Savli, Vadodara district and later joined the BJP is to contest from the same seat.