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BJP fields five former Congress MLAs for Gujarat byelections

BJP fields five former Congress MLAs for Gujarat byelections 2

Ahmedabad: All the five former Congress MLAs who joined the BJP earlier this year after resigning as legislators have been fielded by the saffron party in Gujarat for bypolls in their respective Assembly seats. By-elections will be held on November 3 in eight seats – Abdasa, Limdi, Morbi, Dhari, Gadhada (SC), Karjan, Dangs (ST) and Kaprada (ST) – of Gujarat as eight Congress MLAs had resigned before the Rajya Sabha elections in June.

The BJP on Sunday announced its candidates in seven out of these eight Assembly seats in the state.

Pradyumnsinh Jadeja, Brijesh Merja, J V Kakadiya, Akshay Patel, and Jitu Chaudhary — the five who had joined the BJP in June this year after resigning from the Congress — have been fielded from their respective Assembly seats of Abdasa, Morbi, Dhari, Karjan, and Kaprada.

Helped by the resignation of these five MLAs, the BJP had managed to win three out of four Rajya Sabha seats for which elections were held in June.

The other three who had resigned from the Congress — Soma Patel from Limbdi, Mangal Gavit from Dangs and Pravin Maru from Gadhada — did not join any party.

The BJP on Sunday also announced that its former state minister Atmaram Parmar will contest from Dangs and former MLA Vijay Patel from Gadhada.

Both these candidates were defeated in the 2017 state Assembly elections by Congress candidates, who later resigned as MLAs.

Parmar, who was earlier four-time MLA from Gadhada, a seat reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates in Botad district, had served as minister for social justice and empowerment, and women and child welfare in the previous Vijay Rupani government.

He had earlier also served as the deputy speaker of the state Assembly.

Vijay Patel, the BJP’s candidate from Dangs, had won the 2007 Assembly election, but was defeated in the 2012 and 2017 polls by the then Congress candidate Mangal Gavit.

The BJP is yet to announce its candidate in Limbdi, which was vacated after Soma Patel resigned as Congress MLA.

Kakadiya, the BJP candidate from Dhari constituency, said he will be in a better position to work for the people of his constituency as an MLA from the ruling party.

“I have not done anything wrong by joining the BJP. I took the decision so that I could do something better for the people of my constituency, something I was not able to do while being in the opposition party,” he said.

Kakadiya also said if he is elected as an MLA of the ruling party, he will address the issues faced by farmers and the poor people in his constituency.

“Majority of the people here (in Kakadiya’s constituency) are farmers, and I will try and address the issue of water supply that they have been facing,” he added.

After the Election Commission announced dates for the by-elections, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and BJP state president C R Paatil had expressed confidence that the party will win in all the seats.

“The state government and the party are ready for the by-elections. The BJP will win all the eight seats. The Congress MLAs had resigned from their party due to factionalism,” Nitin Patel had said.

The opposition Congress is yet to declare its candidates for the bypolls.

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