With less than two weeks remaining for the Gujarat elections, seven leaders have been suspended by the ruling BJP after six of them filed their nominations for the state polls as independent candidates, while one of them was fielded by the Congress, when they did not get party tickets. All seven leaders are due to fight in the first phase of the Gujarat elections, scheduled for December 1. Two of them – Harshad Vasava, a tribal leader, and Arvind Ladani – are former BJP MLAs. They are contesting as independents from the Nandod and Keshod seats respectively
Chattrasinh Gunjaria, another BJP leader who has been suspended, is an elected member of Surendranagar district panchayat. He has been fielded by the Congress from the Dhangadhra seat. Among other leaders who have been suspended, Ketan Patel is contesting from the Pardi seat in Valsad district; Bharat Chavda from the Rajkot rural seat in the Rajkot district; Uday Shah from Veraval in Gir Somnath and Karan Baraiya from Rajula in the Amreli district.
The BJP has been ruling the state for nearly 27 years and is aiming for a seventh straight win. The Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are fielding themselves as the key challengers even as Arvind Kejriwal’s party has been accused of trying to cut into the grand old party’s vote base.
Meanwhile, the BJP has stepped up its poll campaign in the state. On Friday, the party held rallies in 89 constituencies. The state has a total of 182 constituencies.
Prime Minster Narendra Modi also arrived in his home state on Saturday where he was scheduled to hold a total of eight rallies – over a span of three days – were scheduled. After holding a rally in Valsad on Saturday, he is addressing four rallies on Sunday. Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP chief JP Nadda are also in Gujarat for the poll campaign.
On Monday, the state will also the Congress’s Rahul Gandhi raising the poll pitch.
The second phase of the assembly elections will be held on December 5; votes will be counted on December 8.