Congress okays 70 names, BJP begins process of candidate selection

Congress okays 70 names, BJP begins process of candidate selection

first_imgIn a meeting that lasted barely 45 minutes, the Congress’s central election committee on Friday cleared the names of 70 candidates for the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly elections. The names will officially be announced on November 16.Of the 182 Assembly seats, 89 from the Saurashtra and south Gujarat regions will go to the polls in the first phase on December 9. “We have cleared those names where there was consensus on a single name,” a senior leader involved in the selection process told The Hindu.Rounds of discussions“The screening committee had prepared a panel of two or three probable names for each seat and during several rounds of discussions and feedback gathered from multiple sources, one name was forwarded to the CEC for its final stamping,” the leader said.Party insiders say the Congress list will have a clear stamp of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who is involved in every aspect from leading the party campaign and holding negotiations with young leaders like Alpesh Thakor, who joined the party recently, and the Patidar leader Hardik Patel, and selecting candidates.The screening committee is headed by former Maharashtra Minister Balasaheb Thorat. Ashok Gehlot, general secretary in charge of Gujarat, and his team consisting of Rajeev Satav, Jeetu Patwari, Varsha Gaikwad and Harshvardhan Sakpal, along with Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political adviser Ahmed Patel and the State leaders, have held a series of meetings in Gujarat and Delhi to vet hundreds of probable candidates.Party insiders say selection of candidates is fraught with multiple challenges. While the interests of various groups such as Patels, Dalits and OBCs have to be accommodated, the choices must ensure that the party stays united with minimal rebellion after candidate selection.On Friday, the meeting was presided by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her first major political engagement in the past two weeks after she was advised rest to recover from an illness. Mr. Gandhi will return to campaign in north Gujarat as part of Congress’s Navsarjan Yatra and will visit the popular Ambaji temple in Banaskantha. His three-day yatra will cover Gandhinagar, Sabarkantha, Patan, Banaskantha and Arvalli districts in north Gujarat where the Congress is expected to improve its performance.BJP meetingsThe BJP’s State parliamentary board also began a series of meetings on Friday that will go on till November 12, to send a list of probable candidates from which the central parliamentary board will select the final names. National president Amit Shah and other top leaders were present at the State parliamentary board meeting held at Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s residence in Gandhinagar.last_img

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