The opposition Congress on Friday announced its first list of 43 candidates for the Gujarat Assembly elections, fielding Rajya Sabha MP Amee Yagnik from the Ghatlodia constituency which is currently held by Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel.
Senior leader and former party MLA Arjun Modhwadia has been nominated from the Porbandar seat, which he had lost to the BJP’s Babu Bokhiriya in 2012 and 2017.
Of the 43 seats for which the Congress has declared its candidates, the party currently holds only one – Jhalod (ST) constituency in Dahod district.
Instead of sitting MLA Bhavesh Katara, the party has chosen Mitesh Garasiya from Jhalod. Garasiya was the Congress MLA from 2012-17.
The first list of candidates features seven women, including Yagnik. Some former MLAs also managed to get tickets this time.
Vadodara Congress leader Narendra Ravat’s wife and leader of opposition in the BJP-ruled Vadodara Municipal Corporation Amee Ravat has been chosen for the Sayajigunj seat of the city.
Former Congress MLA of Jasdan seat Bholabhai Gohel has been given the party ticket again. Gohel had joined the BJP after he was denied ticket in 2017 but he returned to the grand old party in 2018.
Senior party leader and former BJP MLA from Mahuva seat of Bhavnagar, Kanubhai Kalsariya, has been chosen for the same seat. He contested the 2017 poll as an Independent but lost to the BJP’s Raghav Makwana by nearly 5,000 votes.
Former MLA Dhirubhai Bhil has been given ticket for Sankheda (ST) seat, which he had lost to the BJP in 2017.
The first list has 10 Patel or Patidar faces, 11 tribals, 10 OBCs and five SCs.
While the ruling BJP has not declared its candidates yet, the new entrant Aam Aadmi Party has declared its candidates for 118 seats.
The list was declared after candidates’ names were finalised during a meeting of the party’s central election committee (CEC) chaired by Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge here.
Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi joined the meeting online, while the rest of the participants attended it physically at the AICC headquarters here.
The Congress is seeking to oust the BJP from government in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, where the saffron party has been in power for more than two decades.
Elections to the 182-member Gujarat Assembly will be held in two phases next month – on December 1 and 5 – while votes will be counted on December 8.