Guj polls: BJP pips Cong in race to name candidates

RSTV Bureau

PM-Modi-Amith-Shah-BJP-Office

In a show of all-is-well-in-the-house, the BJP on Friday released its first list of candidates for the Gujarat assembly elections. The list comprises 70 candidates for elections to the 182-member Assembly.

Among the prominent names in the list, Chief Minister Vijaybhai Rupani will contest from Rajkot West, while Deputy Chief Minister Nitinbhai Patel is party’s candidate from Mahesana and state party president Jitubhai Vaghani from Bhavnagar West.

The BJP’s Central Election Committee meeting, chaired by BJP president Amit Shah, was attended by Prime Minister Modi, and other senior leaders including Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj.

Till this morning, there were speculations that both the parties — Congress and BJP — are gauging political waters minutely in each constituency, given the caste and sub-caste consideration.

The assembly polls in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, slated to be held in two phases on December 9 and 14, is slowly becoming into a contest of sorts with Congress working to strike understanding with Hardik Patel-led grouping of Patidaars, the influential community which has long voted for the BJP.

Gandhinagar: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi waves at crowd along with the OBC leader Alpesh Thakor who joined the party, during a public meeting in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on Monday. PTI Photo

Gandhinagar: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi waves at crowd along with the OBC leader Alpesh Thakor who joined the party, during a public meeting in Gandhinagar, Gujarat last month. PTI Photo

Also, Congress leaders claim that the induction of OBC leader Alpesh Thakor and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s parleys with Dalit youth leader Jignesh Mewani will help the party, which is facing a steep uphill task of challenging BJP in a state they are have ruled for 22 years.

The Congress, however, is yet to announce any candidature. The party is expected to discussion and finalise its possible candidates for the first phase of polling today evening at a meeting of its Central Election Committee (CEC).

The CEC is headed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and has as its members party vice president Rahul Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh besides some top party general secretaries.

(With inputs from PTI)