In a bid to play it safe, Gujarat BJP has repeated 40 sitting MLAs and fielded eight former MLAs who had lost in 2007, while announcing the first list of 84 candidates for the Gujarat assembly polls.
Former chief minister Keshubhai Patel factor has apparently prevented the party from experimenting while selecting candidates as it was feared that those denied ticket can join hands with Patel's outfit to damage the prospects of the ruling party.
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi will be contesting from his seat Maninagar in Ahmedabad.
The ruling party has dropped only 11 sitting MLAs in the first list.
In the last assembly polls in 2007, Modi had dropped as many as 47 members while adopting "no repeat theory" which eliminated anti-incumbency factor at grassroots level.
However, this time, due to changes brought in by the delimitation factor and unprecedented rush for the party tickets among the workers, Modi stuck to the sitting MLAs.
On November 4, HT had reported that if 40-50 MLAs were to be dropped by the ruling party, it would create huge dissatisfaction among the local cadres which can prove costly for the party.
As per the list issued after the meeting of central election committee, the party has fielded state BJP president RC Faldu from Jamnagar Rural segment as his seat Kalawad has been reserved for SC while ministers Vajubhai Vala, Dilip Sanghani, Narotam Patel, Ishwar Patel, Vasuben Trivedi, Mangubhai Patel, Ranjit Gilitwala, Mohanbhai Kundaria and assembly speaker Ganpat Vasava have been repeated.
Besides, Bhuepndrasinh Chudasama, Chhatrasinh Mori, Babu Bokhiria, Chiman Saparia and ratibhai Sureja were ministers who had lost the previous polls have also been fielded.
However, the party has dropped the sitting members from Lathi, Dasada, Chotila, Mangrol, Savarkundla, Pardi, Mahuva, Khambhalia, Olpad and Valsad segments.
"This time it's a repeat theory adopted by the party. No significant changes in order to avoid risk in denying tickets to sitting members. This is a sign of elections being closer than suggested by various surveys," a BJP insider said,
"Keshubhai factor has also played its role in dissuading the chief minister in dropping the sitting members as it feared that those denied can join hand with Patel's political outfit," he added.
Another BJP leader also seconded it saying Modi has demonstrated that he does not want to take risk in the crucial assembly polls as he has a lot at stake if the party fares poorly compared to previous polls.