In the run-up to the upcoming assembly elections, all three major political parties in the fray have announced the lists of candidates for most of the seats. Normally a two-party contest between Congress and BJP, but this time around the election battle will see the third entrant in AAP.
While going through the lists of candidates, it is becoming clear that Congress has mostly fielded party loyalists. The critics might say that Congress does not have willing candidates either, but the fact is, Congress lists are quite balanced.
Not being a clear favourite, Congress from it’s underdog position has enough legroom for maneuvering and can choose from the pool of candidates who have remained with the party through thick and thin. The times has also tested the ideological commitment of the remaining congress leaders.
AAP and BJP has the issue of candidates falling over themselves to be included in the lists. Moreover, the parties feel the pressure of accommodating those who jumped the Congress ship and at the same time managing the hurt feelings of their own loyal workers.
Congress has given tickets to 21 sitting MLAs, no fancy no-repeat theories for Congress. In BJP’s lists there are as many as 9 candidates, out of around 20 MLAs who resigned from congress after the 2017 assembly elections. Against all speculation of putting Hardik Patel in his place by not offering a party ticket, BJP surprisingly fielded him from Viramgam as was his want.
Oldtimers in Congress like former MLAs are Raghavji Patel (Jamnagar Rural) and Balwantsinh Rajput (Sidhpur) also found favour with BJP election strategists. Raghavji Patel was expelled from Congress for voting against the party mandate in the Rajya Sabha election.
Congress does not face such a problem, No politician of major importance came their way. Congress’s state party chief Jagdish Thakor said “Our workers who have strengthened the Congress to challenge the BJP, despite being victimized by the ruling party, will be the first choice..
AAP also fielded several candidates who quit Congress and BJP.
Former Congress spokesperson Kailash Gadhvi fielded from the Mandvi and former Surat BJP president PVS Sarma fielded from Surat distirct’s Majura seat are glaring examples.
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