In a move that is being construed as another attempt to squeeze party patriarch L K Advani, the BJP on Saturday decided to substitute his loyalist and sitting MP Harin Pathak with Bollywood actor Paresh Rawal from the Ahmedabad East constituency.
Actor Rawal’s name figures in the fresh list of five candidates contesting from different Lok Sabha seats of Gujarat. Interestingly, Pathak was willing to vacate the seat for Modi before the PM candidate opted for Vadodara as his second seat.
However, he is finding it hard to digest the decision of fielding an outsider while ignoring the fact that he has been an MP from there since 1989.
The party has decided to field former MLA Deep Sinh Rathore from Sabarkantha, sitting legislator Rajesh Chudasma from Junagadh, sitting MLA Debusingh Chouhan from Kheda and re-nominate Prabhatsingh Chouhan from Panchmahal. The BJP had declared candidates for 21 out of the 26 Lok Sabha seats earlier.
Advani, whose love-hate relationship with Modi is not hidden, had to secure his Gandhinagar seat after more than a day-long drama which began with him skipping the Parliamentary Board and Central Election Committee meetings showing interest in moving out to Bhopal for the electoral contest. To quell embarrassment for the party on the eve of the polls, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had intervened and an honourable exit was given to him, leaving him to choose the seat he wanted to contest from. Finally, he decided to retain his Gandhinagar constituency.
Post Advani giving up his claim, the BJP also decided to field state office in-charge of the party, Alok Sanjar, from Bhopal.