Former Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, former deputy chief minister Nitin Patel and two other senior leaders -- Bhupendrasinh Chudasama and Pradipsinh Jadeja -- have said that they would not contest the upcoming assembly polls.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday announced its first list of 160 candidates for the Gujarat Assembly elections. Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel will contest from Ghatlodiya constituency, Hardik Patel from Viramgam.
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State Home minister Harsh Sanghavi to contest elections from Majura constituency, cricketer Ravindrasinh Jadeja's wife Rivaba from Jamnagar North constituency.
The party named its candidates for 84 of the 89 seats which will go to the polls in the first phase on December 1 and 76 of 93 candidates going to the polls in the second phase on December 5. Union Minister Bhupendra Yadav said the list includes 69 sitting MLAs besides 14 women, and 13 and 24 members from the Schedules Castes and Schedules Tribes respectively.
The BJP central election committee met on Wednesday evening to finalise the party's candidates. Hardik Patel left Congress to join the saffron party. The BJP dropped many incumbent MLAs.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Patel, BJP president JP Nadda and other top leaders attended the meeting at the party headquarters in the national capital.
The BJP is eyeing a seventh consecutive victory in the state.
Also read | Where does BJP stand — A SWOT analysis
Four prominent BJP leaders not to contest polls
Former Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, former deputy chief minister Nitin Patel, and two other senior leaders — Bhupendrasinh Chudasama and Pradipsinh Jadeja — have announced that they would not contest in the upcoming assembly polls.
"These four senior leaders of our party have written separate letters to state unit party president CR Paatil, saying they do not want to fight the upcoming elections," Gujarat BJP spokesperson Yamal Vyas said.
Rupani is a sitting MLA from Rajkot West, Patel from the Mehsana Assembly seat, Chudasama from Dholka, and Jadeja from Vatva in Ahmedabad.
Third Congress MLA resigns
Congress MLA from Jhalod in Dahod district Bhavesh Katara resigned ahead of the state polls. He is the third Congress MLA to resign after Mohansinh Rathwa and Bhagwan Barad.
Katara went to the residence of Assembly Speaker Nimaben Acharya on Wednesday night and submitted his resignation to her, an official statement said.
He is likely to join the BJP on Thursday.
In the 2017 Gujarat polls, the BJP won 99 seats, and its main rival, Congress, bagged 77 seats. Currently, the BJP's strength in the 182-member Assembly is 111 after several MLAs from Congress defected to it.
Also read | Gujarat polls: 25 seats to watch out for
During this time, the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) entry into Gujarat has opened a new front in the otherwise bipolar election.
Polling will be held in two phases in Gujarat on December 1 and 5.
With inputs from PTI
First Published: IST