New Delhi: With the BJP set to finalise its candidates for the Gujarat assembly polls, former Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and senior party leader Bhupendrasinh Chudasama have said they will not contest the elections. Former state Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel will also not contest the polls.
Rupani, who was Gujarat’s Chief Minister from 2016 to 2021, said he had conveyed to the party leadership that he will not contest the polls. “I worked as Chief Minister for five years with everyone’s cooperation. In these polls, responsibility should be given to new workers. I won’t contest the poll, I sent letter to seniors and conveyed it to Delhi. We’ll work to make the chosen candidate win,” he said.
Chudasama said he had fought elections nine times in a row and others should get the opportunity. “I will not fight Assembly elections, have expressed it to senior leader of party. I’ve decided other workers should get the opportunity. I’ve fought the elections nine times till now. I express my gratitude to the party,” he said.
The BJP held a meeting of its Central Election Committee at BJP headquarters to finalise its candidates for Gujarat polls. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, party chief JP Nadda, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, state BJP chief CR Patil and members of the Central election committee including BS Yeddyurappa, Devendra Fadnavis and Lal Singh Rajpura attended the meeting.
Sources said that the CEC would clear seat candidates for all the 182 assembly seats in the state. Bhupendra Patel had succeeded Rupani as Gujarat Chief Minister in September last year. Sources said the BJP could drop at least 20 per cent of the 99 MLAs who won in the 2017 elections.
The BJP core group meeting for Gujarat polls took place at Nadda’s residence on Tuesday. BJP is likely to release its first list on Thursday. The wife of cricketer Ravindra Jadeja, Rivaba Jadeja is also likely to get a ticket from Jamnagar. Turncoats from Congress, who joined BJP including Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakor, will also be contesting the upcoming elections on a BJP ticket.
Gujarat has been the BJP bastion for decades and the party is seeking the seventh term in office. Polling will take place in Gujarat on December 1 and December 5.Congress is seeking to oust the BJP, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is also making efforts to put up a strong performance in the polls.