Gujarat: Cong fields eight MLAs to checkmate BJP's MPs

Even as the last day for filing nominations ended on Thursday in Gujarat, both BJP and Congress are all set for an intense contest in the Lok Sabha polls this time around. File photo

Even as the last day for filing nominations ended on Thursday in Gujarat, both BJP and Congress are all set for an intense contest in the Lok Sabha polls this time around.

The Congress has fielded eight of its sitting MLAs including the leader of opposition Paresh Dhanani, which indicates a larger plan from the party. Although it won 77 seats, only 70 MLAs are with the party. The rest have either resigned or joined the BJP over the last one year.

"We chose the eight sitting MLAs after calculating the maths of social engineering. We have found that these local leaders enjoy immense support in their respective areas. For Congress one or two MLAs here or there wouldn’t make any difference as we are not in power but winning more Lok Sabha seat would help the party more," said Manish Doshi, Congress spokesperson.

Leader of opposition Dhanani has been fielded from Amreli seat. He is likely to give a close fight to incumbent Naran Kachchadiya from BJP.

Controversial faces in the fray

Similarly, the party has relied on the popularity of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), which took out the agitation for reservation to streets. Leaders such as Lalit Vasoya, sitting MLA of Porbandar, PAAS convener Gita Patel, Lalit Kagathara, sitting Morbi MLA among others have been fielded. Gita Patel has been given a ticket to contest for Ahmedabad East seat. The Congress has fielded eight candidates from the powerful Patidar community.

On Thursday morning, the party announced fielding of its youth leader Shamsher Pathan from Bharuch seat in south Gujarat that has a sizable number of Muslim voters. Pathan is the lone Muslim face in the race. It also announced Babubhai Katara for tribal-dominated Dahod seat in central Gujarat. Katara is facing several criminal cases including alleged human trafficking case. Katara’s son Bhavesh is facing post-Godhra riots cases.

BJP repeats sitting MPs

On the other hand, the BJP has repeated its 17 sitting members of parliament, hoping to repeat its performance of 2014, riding on popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and national President Amit Shah, who is contesting from Gandhinagar for the first time. Among the new faces are four sitting MLAs.

This year, Shah has replaced party veteran L K Advani. Rajanben Bhatt who had won in the bypoll in Vadodara after Modi vacated Vadodara seat for Varanasi has been repeated.

While Congress is going to voters projecting employment, poverty and "failure" of Modi government as the issues, the BJP’s campaign surrounds around popularity of Modi, "surgical and air strike" and accusing Congress leaders of supporting Pakistan.

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Gujarat: Cong fields eight MLAs to checkmate BJP's MPs

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