regular-article-logo Saturday, 10 June 2023

Congress turncoats get BJP tickets in Gujarat polls

The list includes 14 women, and 13 and 24 members from the Schedules Castes and Schedules Tribes respectively

PTI New Delhi Published 10.11.22, 11:22 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. Shutterstock

A number of former Congress MLAs in Gujarat who joined the BJP after resigning as legislators in the past five years have been given an opportunity by the ruling party to fight the upcoming Assembly polls.

Apart from former Congress working president and prominent Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who quit the Opposition party in May this year, several former Congress MLAs who joined the BJP have been given tickets from the seats from where they had won by-elections.


The BJP on Thursday released its first list of 160 candidates for the two-phase elections to the 182-member Gujarat Assembly.

The party fielded chief minister Bhupendra Patel from his constituency Ghatlodia and dropped a large number of sitting MLAs. The Congress had won 77 seats in the 2017 Assembly elections.

Of these 77 legislators, as many as 20 resigned during the past five years, with three quitting in the last two days.

A majority of these 20 MLAs had won the by-elections necessitated by their resignation and most of them have been given another chance by the BJP to contest the elections to be held on December 1 and 5.

The BJP has given nomination to Rajendrasinh Rathva, son of the Congress’s senior-most former MLA and tribal leader Mohan Rathva, who resigned two days before the ruling party announced its list. Hardik will contest from Viramgam.

Apart from Rathva, the MLAs who resigned this year, including Bhagvan Barad, Harshad Ribadiya and Ashvin Kotwal, have also been given a chance to contest from their respective seats — Talala, Visavadar and Khedbrahma — as BJP candidates.

The party is yet to decide the fate of Bhavesh Katara, the latest to resign from the Congress, as it has not yet declared the name of the candidate for the Jhalod seat that he represented.

Also, the BJP is yet to decide whether prominent OBC leader Alpesh Thakor, who quit the Congress, will get a chance to contest the election on its ticket. Among the MLAs who left the Congress in the last five years and won bypolls on BJP tickets are Kunvarji Bavaliya (Jasdan seat), Jawahar Chavda (Manavadar), Jitu Chaudhary (Kaprada), Akshay Patel (Karjan), J.V. Kakadiya (Dhari) and Pradyumnasinh Jadeja (Abdasa).

Bavaliya had resigned in July 2018 and became the first Congress MLA to quit after the 2017 elections. The prominent Koli leader went on to win from his stronghold Jasdan and was made a cabinet minister.

Jitu Chaudhary, an MLA from the Scheduled Tribe-reserved seat of Kaprada, was made the minister of state for fisheries.

The BJP, however, decided not to field Brijesh Merja, a former Congress MLA who resigned in March 2020 ahead of the Rajya Sabha election and won the Morbi byelection.

On October 30, as many as 135 people lost their lives in the Morbi suspension bridge collapse. The BJP has also not given a chance to Dhrangadhra MLA Parshottam Sabariya.

He resigned as a Congress legislator in March 2019 and went on to win the by-election as a BJP candidate.

But this time, the BJP has fielded Prakash Varmora from the seat.

The BJP also decided not to give another chance to former Bayad MLA Dhavalsinh Zala, who resigned along with the then Radhanpur Congress MLA, Alpesh Thakor. Both Zala and Thakor had resigned in June 2019 and both of them lost to Congress candidates in the bypolls that followed.

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