Gujarat Elections 2017: BJP Finalizes Gujarat Shortlist Of Candidates

Gujarat Elections 2017: Amit Shah Shah and top state Gujarat leaders sat with prabharis or and nirakshaks or from every district to clear or reject names. About 30 to 40 seats from a certain region were discussed each day.

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Gujarat Election 2017: The election to the 182-seat assembly is a battle of prestige for the BJP.

Gandhinagar: The BJP has shortlisted three candidates each for the 182 assembly seats in Gujarat in a marathon six-day exercise. Party chief Amit Shah was present on all six days, a sign of how much is at stake for the BJP as it seeks a fifth straight term in power in elections in December, at the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr Shah.

Mr Shah and top state leaders sat with district-level functionaries to clear or reject names. About 30 to 40 seats from a certain region of the state were discussed each day. Candidates have been shortlisted taking into account caste, age and people’s perception, with the biggest factor, the sources said, being “the ability to win.”

The meeting was held at Shantiniketan near Adalaj village in Gandhinagar district.

Amit Shah has tasked the party with winning 150 of the 182 seats. The best performance in Gujarat so far by the BJP was 129 seats won in the 2002 elections, led by then Chief Minister Narendra Modi. In the last election it had won 116, with the Congress winning 60.

The final BJP list of shortlisted names will be sent to Delhi, where the central parliamentary committee of the BJP will discuss and clear them.

As is its Standard Operating Procedure while selecting candidates to contest elections, the BJP had sent observers to every district in Gujarat to interview aspirants. “The panel of probable candidates for constituencies was formed on the basis of the report of these observers,” sources said.

Elections will be held in Gujarat on two days, on December 9 and 14, and votes will be counted on December 18 along with those for Himachal Pradesh, the Election Commission announced earlier this week. Elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat were announced separately unlike the previous year and the Congress has questioned the deviation, alleging that the poll panel was pressured by the BJP-led Centre to allow the state government to announce sops and also to allow PM Modi to visit the state twice more and launch big ticket projects, before a model code of conduct was enforced.

The BJP faces off with the Congress, which has launched an aggressive campaign in Gujarat, hoping for an anti-incumbency sentiment against the BJP after two decades of ruling the state.

The Congress is attempting to rally the support of the BJP’s traditional support bases by tapping their discontentment with the state government. Congress vice-president Rahul Gadhi has reached out to young activists leading movements in the state like Patel agitation leader Hardik Patel, Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, and backward caste leader Alpesh Thakore, who joined the party this week, predicting that with him and his supporters on its side, the Congress will win 125 of the state’s seats.