Gujarat assembly elections have literally become a battleground, be it between the political parties, communal parties or for that matter even within the party. With less than a month left for the state to go for polls, while on one hand, BJP was already fighting the Congress, but it seems like the start are not favoring the party as the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party is now also facing difference and protest within the party.
BJP and Congress were engaged in the ‘who blinks first’ game to release the candidate list, each waiting for the other to release the list first. However, 21 is the last date for filing the nominations and keeping in mind the rapidly changing political equations in Gujarat, BJP released its first date on Friday, 17 Nov.
Before the release of the list, the sitting MLAs and the hopeful candidates were all cross fingered seeing the history of BJP ticket distribution. BJP has always had a track f showing the exit door to sitting MLAs and giving tickets to new faces. Though this policy of the party seems to have backfired this time in the already tensed situations in Gujarat.
After BJP filed nominations for 70 candidates, several BJP members, unhappy with the list staged a protest at ‘Kamalam’ the BJP workers warn the party of consequences over ticket distribution. These unhappy members, warned the party to be ready to face the consequences if they were unable to meet their demands. Many party workers also took on to the streets to protest against BJP.
The protest held mixed sentiments, as some were protesting against the dropping of the sitting MLAs, while some expressed dissident over the repetition of the unpopular MLAs.
The BJP has so far announced 106 candidates out of a total of 182 seats by releasing two lists. The angry members even went to the extent of threatening the party of resignation and facing defeat in the polls, which are to be held next month in two phases. While a few BJP members admitted that dissidence after the ticket allocation by the party is not very new in BJP. A mid-level Ahmedabad-based worker also expressed the loss that BJP is facing in the absence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to lead the polls. “Absence of Modiji has emboldened the ambitious candidates,” he said.
Heavyweight Rajput leader IK Jadeja marched to Kamalam on Sunday along with many of his supporters for being denied the ticket. BJP gave Dhanji Patel, a first-timer, the ticket instead of Jadeja. The possible reason for fielding Djanji could be that he belongs to the same Leuva sub-caste as Hardik Patel.
The protestors argued that while Dhanji Patel is only a new face and Jadeja has been a well-acquainted figure amongst the people of Dhrangadhra and workers of Wadhwan. Jadeja’s supporters demanded that the people wanted to see him as their representative and not any new face.
Another BJP MP from Patan, Liladhar Vaghela, has threatened that he will resign if his son Dilip is not fielded from Deesa in North Gujarat. Likewise, BJP MP from Panchmahal, Prabhatsinh Chauhan, has said that he will file nominations as an independent candidate after his wife was denied the ticket.
Workers from Nikol in Ahmedabad also staged a demonstration against the ruling BJP on Sunday, protesting the repeat of Ahmedabad BJP city chief Jagdish Panchal from the constituency. They demanded that Panchal should not be given the ticket in wake of his arrogance and high handedness.
Similarly, workers from Narmada district also opposed the renomination of sitting Nandod (ST) MLA Shabdsharan Tadvi, arguing that he had long lost his popularity and BJP would have to face defeat if he was fielded. The protestors said that Tdvi was unable to bring any development to the constituency in the last five years.
Narmada district BJP secretary Karansinh Parmar warned that “The party’s decision to renominate Tadvi could cost dearly in the polls as his popularity has hit rock bottom in the last five years. As a sitting MLA, Tadvi neither visited villages nor did he bring any developmental work (to the constituency). Despite he lacking any ground connect, the party has decided to repeat him.”
The angry Narmada district BJP secretary said that “We all have come here to warn the party leaders that if he is going to contest, the BJP will be eliminated from Narmada district this time.”
Several BJP members from other constituencies also gathered at the party headquarters protesting the list issued by BJP. Leaders from Kheralu seat in Mehasana, Nikol and Naroda seats in Ahmedabad and from Anklav in Anand district were also present.