AHMEDABAD: BJP on Friday released the names of 70 candidates for the 182-member Gujarat Assembly elections. Patidars (15) and OBCs (26) dominated the list.
BJP, which has won the last five elections in Gujarat with a clear majority, gave tickets to 49 sitting MLAs, including 16 ministers, suggesting that it wanted to put up a defence against the anti-incumbency factor.
There were six new faces, including Chhotaudepur superintendent of police PC Baranda, who resigned on Wednesday, from Bhiloda (ST) seat in South Gujarat and confectionery maker Dhanjibhai Patel alias Makson from Wadhwan in Saurashtra.
Five of the 12 Congress rebels from the Vaghela camp – Raghavji Patel (Jamnagar rural), Dharmedrasinh Jadeja (Jamnagar north), Ramsinh Parmar (Thasra), Mansinh Chauhan (Balasinor) and CK Raulji (Godhra) – were in the list.
They had defected ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls in August. An independent MLA, Ketan Inamdar, is BJP nominee from Savli.
While chief minister Vijay Rupani would contest from Rajkot (West), deputy CM Nitin Patel would seek re-election from Mehsana.
Just four women got tickets with the “winnability” criterion going against them. In 2012, the party fielded 19 women, of whom 12 won .
Of the 70 names, 44 candidates are for the first phase in south Gujarat and Saurashtra-Kutch on December 9 and 26 for the second phase in central and north Gujarat on December 14.
Some old timers who had lost the 2012 election with slender margins were also given another chance – Dilip Sanghani (Amreli), Kiritsinh Rana (Limdi), Govind Parmar (Talala), G R Parmar (Umreth), Vipul Patel (Sojitra), Vijay Patel (Dangs) and Bharat Boghra (Jasdan). Protests erupted within the party in several parts of Gujarat after the list was declared. In Ankleshwar, MLA Ishwar Patel’s brother Vallabh Patel resigned from BJP. Protests were also reported from Padra, Amreli and Daskroi against sitting MLAs being re-nominated.