Cong's releases first list of 77 candidates for Gujarat polls

Cong's releases first list of 77 candidates for Gujarat polls

The Congress on Sunday released the first list of 77 candidates for the first phase of Gujarat Assembly polls.

The Congress, which had announced that it would release the list before 2017 sets in, has released its first list just a few days ahead of the last date to file nominations. The list, like that of the BJP, has a mix of experience and has balanced caste equations.

The Congress has fielded 19 Patel candidates to wean the community away from the BJP and to tap into their anger against the ruling party.

The Congress even named PAAS convenors Lalit Vasoya, Amit Thummar, and Nilesh Kumbani as Congress candidates from Dhoraji. Junagadh and Kamrej, respectively.

However, even before the candidates could fill their forms, PAAS opposed the list.

"We feel that PAAS convenors should not fight elections from Gujarat. If they do so, we will hurt their chances in those constituencies. We request them not to file nominations," said Dinesh Bhambaniya, PAAS leader and a close aide of Hardik Patel.

"We should have been taken into confidence. We appeal to convenors and people not to contest under a Congress ticket," Dinesh added.

If Vasoyaa and Thummar decide to jump ship, it could ruin the chances of an understanding between PAAS and the Congress.

Kumbhani has been a Congressman and has supported the Patel quota stir. There were reports of violence at Kumbhani's office in Surat late on Sunday night.

The list also comes after the Congress and PAAS announced that they had reached a final agreement on reservations.

The move could also be a last-ditch effort by PAAS to pressurize the Congress to give more representation to PAAS nominees. The PAAS had apparently sought 11 seats.

Bhambaniya met state Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki and threatened to stage a protest.

"We tried to speak to him over the phone but he is not willing to talk. We will now sit here until the morning if Bharatsinh does not meet us. Till then no one from PAAS would be allowed to file forms nor would we allow the Congress to open any election offices in those constituencies," Bhambaniya added.

Among the key constituencies, Shaktisinh Gohil, national spokesperson, has moved from Abdasa in Kutch to Mandvi.

Indranil Rajguru, once the richest candidate, will contest against Chief Minister Vijay Rupani from Rajkot (West).

Earlier, on Sunday evening, a list began doing the rounds on social media, which was later found to be fake. The Congress claimed that it was being circulated by the BJP.

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