Speculation rife about BJP's Vadodara candidate

Speculation rife about BJP's Vadodara candidate

With Narendra Modi deciding to vacate the Vadodara seat which had secured him a record victory margin of 5.7 lakh votes, speculations are rife as to who will be the next candidate to contest from Vadodara.

The seat comprising seven Assembly seats has been a stronghold of the BJP especially in the last few Lok Sabha terms. But that has never deterred the Congress from putting up strong candidates.

While the name of Modi’s confidant and architect of BJP’s victory in the Lok Sabha Amit Shah is doing the rounds, the Vadodara local unit of the BJP feels it could also be someone from the royal Gaekwad family as they still command respect amongst the people of Baroda.

The late Ranjitsinh Gaekwad had contested and won the elections on a Congress ticket in 1980. But later he switched over to the BJP and campaigned for their MP. His wife Shubhanginidevi Raje Gaekwad too contested on a BJP ticket from Kheda and had lost to Congress’ former union minister Dinsha Patel.

Modi had invited the Maharani to be one of his proposers while he filed his nomination from Vadodara.

“There are possibilities of someone from the royal family being nominated to contest the by-elections, but the party leaders themselves will  prefer a party leader.

Hence, not many will mind if Shah was selected to contest,’’ said a Vadodara-based BJP leader. Some leaders also pointed out that former BJP MP Balu Shukla who had vacated the seat for Modi to contest would also be a possible candidate.

With Modi known to spring surprises, the name of the candidate will not be out till the last minute, said BJP leaders. “With a clear majority at the Centre and in the state, this would no longer be one of the watched elections anymore,’’ said a senior state party leader.

Meanwhile, the Congress’ Madhusudan Mistry who had contested against Modi has already announced that he would not contest the by-election from Vadodara.

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