The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday released its first list of 160 candidates for the ensuing Assembly elections in Gujarat. Chief minister Bhupendrabhai Patel will contest from his Ghatlodiya seat.
As per BJP leaders, Patel, an old-time RSS worker, remains the frontrunner for the chief minister’s post if the party retains power.
The list does not feature former chief ministers Vijay Rupani and his deputy Nitin Patel. On Wednesday night, both senior leaders announced that they won’t fight the elections.
Speaking at a press conference, Union minister Bhupender Yadav said that former Gujarat Congress chief Hardik Patel will contest from Viramgam constituency in Ahmedabad while cricketer Ravindra Jadeja’s wife Rivabha will try her luck from Jamnagar North.
In Morbi where many people lost their lives in a bridge collapse, the BJP has dropped its MLA and fielded former legislator Kantilal Amrutiya who, as per local reports, helped rescue more than 100 people site after the accident.
The 182-members Legislative Assembly will vote in two phases – on December 1 and December 5. The counting of votes will take place on December 8.
In this election, the BJP has given tickets to 14 women, 13 leaders from Scheduled Castes (SC) and 14 from Scheduled Tribes (ST) communities. As many as 69 sitting MLAs managed to secure tickets as the party dropped many a large number of incumbent legislators.
Out of the 160 seats, 84 will go to polls in the first phase on December 1 and 76 constituencies will see people voting in the second and last phase on December 5.
The party will announce candidates for the remaining 22 constituencies later.
In the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP has fielded fresh faces in constituencies it lost in the last Assembly elections in 2017.
BJP leaders said the anti-incumbency factor weighed in on the candidate selection process and the party has rewarded party leaders with a clean image.