A day after the BJP announced its first list of 70 candidates, several voices of resentment are emanating from across the state.
Supporters of I K Jadeja, senior party leader and former minister with a strong political base in Wadhwan and Dhrangadhra constituencies in Saurashtra, gathered at BJP headquarters Kamalam in Gandhinagar and raised slogans. They were angry that Jadeja, a kshatriya leader, was denied candidacy from Wadhwan constituency in Surendranagar district.
The BJP had on Friday announced the name of industrialist Dhanji Patel as its candidate from Wadhwan. Interestingly, Dhanji comes from the same sub-caste as Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel and the move is seen as BJP's attempt to make a dent in Hardik's support base.
"All the workers of Wadhwan had expressed their desire to see me fielded by the party. So had the people of Dhrangadhra. However, when it comes to fielding a person from outside the constituency, the workers perhaps lose patience," I K Jadeja told mediapersons. He, however, said that he was very much in the party and would remain so.
Jadeja's supporters now want the party to consider his name for the nearby Dhrangadhra constituency.
Jethabhai Solanki, another senior leader from Saurashtra, also quit the party, perhaps believing that he would be denied a ticket. The sitting legislator from Kodinar is a prominent dalit face of the party and had won the 2012 elections by a margin of over 63,300 votes. Jethabhai reached Kamalam and submitted his resignation after meeting senior party leadership there. "I have decided to resign from the party as I do not want to go out there again and campaign for the BJP. I have resigned from all my posts," he told reporters.
Reports of resignations and protests by several local leaders from Vadodara, the tribal belt of south Gujarat, Navsari, Bharuch, Mahuva, Jasdan and Amreli in Saurashtra have been trickling in since the BJP announced its first list. Many of them have threatened to field independent candidates against the BJP's.
The pressure on the party has been such that national president Amit Shah remained stationed at Kamalam till late on Friday night and Saturday to meet several leaders and do damage control.
The BJP, that has set a target of winning over 150 seats in the state, is yet to announce names of 112 candidates for the 182-seat Assembly.