Patels, winnability key in BJP's 5th list candidates

Patels, winnability key in BJP's 5th list candidates

The  BJP in Gujarat on Friday released a list of 13 more candidates who would represent it in the upcoming Assembly elections.

With this, BJP has announced the names of candidates for 148 out of 182 Assembly constituencies.

Like its earlier four lists, the Patel factor and winnability of the candidates appear to be the sole criteria for the BJP. The latest list consists of three Patel candidates, three repeat legislators and one woman candidate. Three legislators have been shown the door.

Among the key candidates, Sumanben Chauhan has been fielded from Kalol. She is the daughter-in-law of the parliamentarian from Panchmahal, Prabhatsinh Chauhan.

Her father-in-law had threatened to revolt if no one from his family was given candidacy.

The party has removed sitting legislator Lalji Mer as its candidate from Dhandhuka and instead fielded Kalubhai Dabhi.

Interestingly, Mer is said to have met BJP national president Amit Shah to lobby either for himself  or APMC chairman in Dhandhuka, Sahdevsinh Jhala. However, the party has decided against his pleas.

The party has also ignored the name of Gordhan Zhadaphia,  who was home minister in the Modi government in the state before Amit Shah took over the reins from him.

Instead, the BJP has continued with sitting two-time legislator Vallabh Kakadia from Thakkarbapa Nagar, in Ahmedabad.

Breaking the 'norm'

The party has selectively used its "norm" of not fielding candidates above 75 years in age.

Although former chief minister Anandiben Patel had to quit and the plea of Narottam Patel from Surat  was rejected due to having crossed the age threshold, the party has decided to field Narayan Patel from Unjha, who is 79-years-old.

Unjha is a stronghold of Kadva Patels, a sub-sect of Patidaars,  and Narayan Patel is a strong leader of the community.

BJP has also fielded Gujarati cinestar Hitesh Kanodia from Idar, constituency of the Speaker in the outgoing Assembly, Ramanlal Vora.

Vora has been moved to the Dasada constituency. Hitesh's father, Naresh Kanodia and uncle Mahesh Kanodia, were  were  cinema stars with a massive following in the rural belt of the state.

Others who have been made candidates from BJP are  Amit Chaudhary from Mansa, Vijay Chakraborty from Vadgam, Ranchhod Rabari from Patan, Ramanlal Patel from Vijapur, Karsan Solanki from Kadi, Piyush Desai from Navsari, Dushyant Patel from Bharuch, Arvind Chaudhari from Vyara  and Vivek Patel from Udhna.

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