BJP president Amit Shah on Saturday filed his nomination for the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Gandhinagar in the presence of Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitely, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.
However, senior party leader L K Advani, who represented the constituency since 1998, was missing.
Shah reached state capital Gandhinagar at 2 pm after leading a road-show, where he completed the formality of filing the nomination papers at the collector’s office. Jaitely told reporters, “The top leadership has come to Gandhinagar for the nomination that shows Gandhinagar constituency is important. This is the seat that Adavaniji (L K Advani), Vajpayeeji (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) represented. In view of its importance, the party has nominated its president to contest from this seat. We will win here by a record margin and all the 26 seats. Modiji will become the prime minister for the second time.”
Before reaching Gandhnagar, Shah addressed a gathering in Naranpura in Ahmedabad which is also his home turf. Addressing a gathering of party workers and supporters, Shah said, “This election will be fought only on the issue of who will lead the country. This is the only issue. When I ask this question to people from Himachal to Kanyakumari and from Kamrup (Assam) to Gandhinagar, I only hear one sound… ‘Modi, Modi, Modi.”
Trying to connect with the impressive gathering, Shah recalled how he had started as a ward worker for the party in the 80s. “If you remove BJP from me, I am zero.” He said he was fortunate to get a ticket from Gandhinagar. He said, “The country will be safe in the hands of Narendra Modi and therefore, I appeal to you to give all the 26 seats to him.”
To endorse Shah’s candidature, Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari and leaders of NDA allies, including Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, SAD patron Parkash Singh Badal and Lok Janshakti Party founder Ram Vilas Paswan were present on the stage.
Shah will contest the Lok Sabha polls for the first time from Gandhinagar, which has been a stronghold of BJP for nearly three decades.
According to party leaders, Shah’s nomination has increased the confidence among workers and presence of key allies — LJP, SAD and Shiv Sena — has shown his rising clout in the party as well as his acceptance. The presence of two ex-party presidents — Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari — indicated that Shah is being accepted even among the top brass.
Addressing the rally, Rajnath said, “If Indira Gandhi can be credited with dividing Pakistan in 1971, why shouldn’t Modiji get the credit for what he has done in Balakot?” He said that it was the bravery of the forces that created Bangladesh from Pakistan. Singh said that at the time, Vajpayee had praised Indira in Parliament.