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BJP to declare candidates for 2nd phase today

india Updated: Nov 28, 2012 12:47 IST
Mahesh Langa

The ruling BJP in Gujarat will be declaring 94 candidates for the second phase of assembly polls today.

The party's central election committee (CEC) is scheduled to meet in Delhi to decide the candidates for central Gujarat, north Gujarat and Ahmedabad city.

The party has already announced candidature of chief minister Narendra Modi from his Maninagar constituency in Ahmedabad. Besides Maninagar, there are 15 seats in the city for which candidates will be announced.

Some heavyweights to figure in the list are Modi's close aides -- Anandiben Patel, who is shifting from the risky Patan in north Gujarat to a safe seat in Ahmedabad city and Sohrabuddin fake encounter accused Amit Shah.

Similar to the first list, which saw 41 sitting MLAs being repeated by the saffron party, the second list is also likely to be conservative in nature.

According to insiders, the party is unlikely to experiment in selection of candidates and the sitting MLAs may be repeated except some whose seats have either gone or have changed necessitating change.

For example, from Panchmahal district, former MP Bhupendrasinh Solanki, who was not in the good books of Modi and thus dropped in the last Lok Sabha polls, may be fielded from Congress held segment.

"Solanki was dropped in the last polls because he was close to Modi's bête noire Sanjay Joshi. But it seems BJP appears desperate to improve its performance in the central Gujarat, which remains a stronghold of the opposition party, so he may be fielded in the assembly polls," a party insider said.

Besides Anandiben Patel, another minister Saurabh Patel will also be moved to a safe seat in Vadodara because his existing seat Botad in Saurashtra has become risky for him.

The party has fielded a new candidate from Botad where Congress candidate is a powerful OBC leader and Rajkot MP Kuvarji Bavalia.

Similarly, urban development and irrigation minister Nitin Patel, whose seat Kadi has been reserved for SC, is likely to shift to Patel dominated Mehsana segment.