Gujarat elections: Congress list delayed due to talks with JD(U), NCP and PAAS
Friday’s CEC meeting was held hours after the PAAS submitted its list of candidates to the top Congress leadersGujaratElection2017 Updated: Nov 17, 2017 22:54 IST
The Congress has delayed by two days the release of its first list of candidates for next month’s assembly elections in Gujarat due to ongoing seat sharing talks with the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) of Hardik Patel and other parties.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi chaired the second meeting of the party’s central election committee (CEC) for Gujarat polls on Friday to finalise its candidates on all the 182 seats. It had cleared the names of 70 candidates in its first meeting on November 10.
Friday’s CEC meeting was held hours after the PAAS submitted its list of candidates to the top Congress leaders.
Congress sources had earlier claimed that PAAS and Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani together were demanding 30 seats while the opposition party was willing to concede 20.
The Congress is also expected to leave 5 seats for the Sharad Yadav faction of the Janata Dal (United) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), in case the alliance with two parties was firmed up.
A senior Congress functionary told HT that the NCP had sent feelers for renewal of alliance in Gujarat but insisted that the leadership will take a final call. The ties between the two parties soured after the NCP candidates voted against senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel in the August 8 Rajya Sabha polls.
Mevani, who has repeatedly asserted that he will continue to oppose the BJP but not share the stage with the Congress, too is said to be seeking his pound of flesh.
JD(U) leader Chhotubhai Vasava, whose crucial vote ensured Ahmed Patel’s victory in the Rajya Sabha elections, is demanding 25 seats.
Though Other Backward Classes (OBC) leader Alpesh Thakor has formally joined the Congress, he too is seeking tickets for his close associates, particularly from North Gujarat. Thakor also held talks with the Congress leadership on Friday.
Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot admitted that release of the list of candidates was delayed due to alliance talks with the JD(U) and the NCP.
“Discussion on almost all the 182 seats is over. Since we are talking to JD(U) and NCP and the fact that they have also shown interest in an alliance, the list will be released in a day or two,” he told reporters after the CEC meeting. “We may have to leave some seats for them.”
First Published: Nov 17, 2017 22:54 IST