18 Mar :The BJP denied tickets to two former Union ministers, who are known opponents of Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, but gave the nod to Shatrughan Sinha, about whom there were frequent reports that he could switch loyalties to SP, to contest from Patna Sahib.
Kanshiram Rana and Vallabhai Kataria, who are also sitting MPs, did not figure in the list of party candidates from Gujarat for the Lok Sabha elections.The Central Election Committee (CEC) which met in New Delhi on Tuesday finalised candidates for eight states in which tickets were denied to ten sitting MPs in Gujarat.
Patna Sahib was a seat for which party’s spokesman Ravi Shanker Prasad had reportedly made strong claims.
The candidates declared on Tuesday by BJP’s Central Election Committee were for Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
The candidates for Gujarat included Kirit Solanki(Ahmedabad-West) and Jaishreeben Patel(Mehasana). Even a sitting MLA of Congress who defected to BJP on Monday Bhavsingh Rathor(Patan) got the nod.
Of the 21 seats announced by the party for Gujarat today, 19 were new faces except for two sitting MPs Mansukhbai Vasava(Bharuch) and Harin Pathak(Ahmedabad-East).
The prominent among candidates from Bihar included Rajiv Pratap Rudy(Saran) and Shahnawaz Hussain(Bhagalpur) apart from Sinha.
Party vice-president Gopinath Munde will be the candidate from Beed(Maharashtra) while Subhash Deshmukh(Madha) would be facing NCP chief and Union minister Sharad Pawar.
Former Union minister Ram Naik would be contesting Mumbai-North. He was defeated from the same seat last year by Congress candidate and cinestar Govinda.
The party on Tuesday also announced its 57 candidates for Andhra Pradesh assembly polls.
With the 21 candidates declared on Tuesday, BJP has so far declared candidates for 22 seats including its prime ministerial candidate L K Advani from Gandhinagar.
The party is yet to declare candidates for four seats of Bhavnagar, Amreli, Junagadh and Dahod parliamentary seats.
Besides dropping six-time MP from Surat Kashiram Rana, and three-time MP from Rajkot Vallabh Kathiria, Porbandar MP Haribhai Patel, Panchmahal MP Bhupendrasinh Solanki and Vadodara MP Jayaben Thakker were also not given nominations.
However, the party has retained six-time MP of Ahmedabad and former union minister Harin Pathak and Bharuch MP Mansukh Vasava.
The party has fielded Haribhai Chaudhari from Banaskantha and Ramsinh Rathva from tribal reserved Chhota Udeipur. Both had lost in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls.
Rathva will face Congress’ Naran Rathva who is union minister.In Patan, the party has fielded Bhavsinh Rathor, sitting Congress MLA, who joined BJP on Monday only.
Two other former Congressmen have also managed to get BJP’s nomination: Lalji Mer from Surendranagar, who had joined BJP a few months back and Devusinh Chauhan, sitting MLA from Matar, who had quit Congress to join BJP ahead of Lok Sabha polls.
Chauhan has been fielded from Kheda constituency in central Gujarat where he will face Congress’ formidable candidate and union minister Dinsha Patel.
In Surat, the party has fielded Darshna Jardosh, who is general secretary of women wing of state BJP. She has replaced Kashiram Rana.
In Rajkot where also a former union minister has been dropped, the party has fielded newly-inducted Kiran Patel, whose family joined BJP last Sunday. Patel is a reputed educationist in Saurashtra.
In Navsari seat post delimitation, the party has fielded C R Patil and Deepak Sathi has been nominated for Anand. Both Sathi and Patil were allegedly involved in cooperative bank scams in multi-crore rupees Suryapur Cooperative Bank and Charotar Cooperative bank respectively.
In fact, Patil was a sitting MP and was denied a ticket by the party in 2004 because of his alleged involvement in the cooperative bank scam.
In Vadodara, the party has fielded Vadodara mayor Balu Shukla in place of sitting MP Jayaben Thakker.