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Congress comes out with 15 more candidates

Amidst disgruntled ticket aspirants some of who have decided to fight as independents, the Congress on Monday declared 15 more candidates for the second phase of the Gujarat Assembly elections.

Monday is the last day for filing nominations.

For the Gandhinagar North seat they have once again fielded old loyalist C.J. Chavda. Chavda had won the constituency in 2002 against Vadibhai Patel of BJP. Thereafter during the 2007 election he was defeated by BJP’s Shambhuji Thakore who retained the seat in 2012. Chavda did not contest in 2012, but in the 2010 by-election of Dehgam he had lost.

With the main opposition party siding with Chottu Vasava, their loyalist friend who supported them in the Rajya Sabha elections making Ahmed Patel the winner, he has been given a shared turf for the elections in certain places. The newly-formed party of Vasava, the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), will be fielding two candidates from Morvahadaf (Scheduled Tribe seat) and Vaghodia. In Vaghodia, the BTP will contest against Madhu Shreevastav of BJP.

Going against the many voices of dissent against Himmatsinh Patel, with allegations that Gujarat in-charge Ashok Gehlot was favoring him, the party has put its trust in Himmatsinh and given him the ticket for Bapunagar, a Patidar-dominated area. The dissenters say that he has lost thrice, twice in state assembly and once in Lok Sabha elections, and is therefore unfit to contest.

The Viramgam seat will be contested by Lakhabhai Bharwad, against BJP’s Tejashree Patel, who was once from the Congress. It will be interesting to see who wins this seat as this region too is dominated by Patidars and is the hometown of the two most popular faces of the agitation, Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakore.

For the Jamalpur Khadia seat, the grand old party had earlier decided on Sabir Kabliwala, but as protests were raised from several quarters, the party has decided to go with Imran Khedawala. He will be contesting against the saffron party’s Bhushan Bhatt, son of former Gujarat Assembly Speaker Ashok Bhatt. Sabir Kabliwala has now fielded himself as an independent.

The rest of the tickets for seats are:

Tharad – D.D. Rajput, Deodar – Shivbhai Bhuria, Radhanpur – Alpesh Zala, Chanasma – Raghu Desai, Siddhpur – Chandan Thakore, Idar (SC)- Manilal Vaghela, Vatva – Bipin Patel, Asarwa (SC) – Kanubhai Vaghela, Dholka – Ashwin Rathod, Jhalod (ST) – Bhavesh Katara, Manjalpur – Chirag Zaveri.