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BJP holds back announcement of candidates for seats in north Gujarat

The fresh round of consultation over seats in north Gujarat is to ensure picking right candidates and fixing responsibility of the local leaders to ensure victory.

india Updated: Nov 17, 2017 11:34 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
BJP,North Gujarat,Gujarat state assembly polls
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with BJP President Amit Shah during the Gujarat Gaurav Mahasammelan in Ahmedabad on Monday. (PTI)

The BJP has not announced the names of candidates in two dozen assembly constituencies, mostly in north Gujarat which is an area of influence of Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakor, after a mismatch between the recommendation from its state unit and findings of an independent survey, sources have said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s central election committee met in New Delhi on Wednesday to discuss the rest of the seats.

“We have started fresh consultation with the district units on these seats. We hope to make the announcement for all 182 seats soon,” a BJP leader privy to the matter said.

November 21 is the last day to file nomination for 89 seats that will vote in the first phase of election on December 9.

While the BJP is confident of winning Gujarat again, it does not want to leave anything to chance. The fresh round of consultation over seats in north Gujarat is to ensure picking right candidates and fixing responsibility of the local leaders to ensure victory.

BJP leaders claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured members of the election committee that all was well in Gujarat and the party would win by a greater margin than before.

He asked party leaders not to get swayed by the media buzz around the Congress or the young leaders such as Patel and Thakor and be assured that Gujarat was very much in the grip of the party.

The Congress’ election committee is meeting in New Delhi on Friday to decide its candidates. It has to take a call on the demands from Patel and Thakor to leave 30-odd seats for them. Janata Dal(United)’s Chhotubhai Vasava too has demanded 25 seats from the Congress even as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has sent feelers signalling its intention to enter into a pre-poll pact with the grand old party.

The BJP wants to take the first movers’ advantage by declaring all candidates before the Congress and launch a high voltage campaign well in advance.

It depends heavily on the popularity of the Prime Minister — Gujarat’s son of the soil — to take the wind out of Congress’ sail. According to the party’s assessment on Gujarat, it has an advantage over Congress as Rahul Gandhi is an ‘outsider’ in the western state.

The BJP plans to launch its campaign on November 25, which will see Modi visiting all 41 districts before canvassing ends on December 12. Gujarat has 33 administrative districts but the BJP has divided it into 41 for organisation purposes.

First Published: Nov 17, 2017 11:29 IST