National Politics

BJP Eyeing A Generational Shift With Elections In Gujarat

BJP Gujarat

Popularity among the public, on-the-ground work done by the candidates, winnability and instilling young blood, are some of the key factors which were under consideration before the BJP arrived at its list of candidates for the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls.

A total of 160 names out of 182 were declared in the first list released on Thursday at the party headquarters in Delhi. There was a clear attempt to include younger candidates as compared to the 2017 assembly elections. 11 candidates out of the 160 declared by the Gujarat BJP are under the age of 40 whereas 53 candidates declared by the BJP in the list so far are under the age of 50.

“The average age of the candidates which earlier in 2017 was at 60 years has now been brought down to 50s,” a source told ANI saying what wasn’t possible in 2017 is now happening in 2022.

Senior party leaders among former ministers including former chief minister Vijay Rupani, and former Deputy chief minister Nitin Patel were among those who didn’t find their names on the list as they had already written to the party leadership expressing their desires not to contest the upcoming polls.

For the first time, Gujarat is all set to witness a three-way contest with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) being the much-spoken-about entrant.

“People would understand that the AAP has put in quite a bit of effort to balance the caste equations and also focus on young faces. The fact is that BJP has been the ruling party in Gujarat for the longest. People have seen and voted for the same faces for years. It is thereby important to cut off anti-incumbency, if any and for the party to instill young blood. And look at Gujarat 10 years down the line,” a BJP functionary told ANI.

“This is a party where an ordinary party worker with a humble background went on to become the prime minister of the country and the message that needs to go to the youth is very simple. If they work hard and bring in new energy they will be rewarded with a chance to prove themselves,” another BJP leader said.
A lot of the ticket selection had an imprint of the central leadership where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah are the biggest representatives from the state.

“There were close to 30 seats which the BJP won in the last election with a narrow margin and they can have a crucial impact on the upcoming polls. In the list that the state leadership brought to Delhi for the Central Election Committee (CEC) meeting on a couple of seats, the most winnable candidates name wasn’t present. The central leadership immediately pointed it out and made sure that these names were included,” a source told ANI.

As many as 17 turncoats including Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakor have been fielded keeping in mind their caste equation and winnable positions in mind.

“Hardik Patel has been fielded from his hometown Viramgam, Alpesh Thakore from Gandhinagar. We saw the two were active and that Thakor won by a huge margin. If they are in our party and in a position to get a win for us, why would they be made to sit out?” a senior leader told ANI.

Presence on the ground and popularity among the public has also been a key factor for the BJP to award tickets in the upcoming assembly elections. Urban seats have been highly critical to the party’s fortunes. There has been a conscious effort to rebuild the image of leadership in urban areas.

“Candidates from Gandhinagar, Wadhawan and Vejalpur were changed because of their growing unpopularity,” a party source said.

A few candidates dropped in the last election have made a comeback this time whereas a few have also been surprising inclusions. 12 such former MLAs have made it to the candidate list in 2022. This includes Kanti Amrutya from Morbi, Bhanuben – Rajkot Gramin and Chiman Bhai SapAria from Jamjodhpur.

Many surprise inclusions for the party included Praful Pansaria from Kamrej who had gone public saying he does not want a ticket.

However, the party’s top brass including party president CR Patil had his name included in the candidates because of his office experience and because he has been a party worker for decades together.
Kalol candidate Fateh Sinh Chauhan was also one of the surprise candidates.

One of the star candidates on the list is Rivaba Jadeja, wife of cricketer Ravindra Jadeja, who will contest from the Jamnagar North constituency.

The list of candidates declared by the BJP includes 49 OBC faces with a further bifurcation of 17 Koli and 14 Thakors being given tickets. 40 Patel candidates have been fielded by the BJP with 23 Leuva Patel and 17 kadva Patels. 37 SC/ST candidates have been fielded. The BJP has fielded 14 women candidates and 17 Kshatriyas in all.

The ruling party has also given prominence to the educated class as a model to improve governance and send a strong message to the youth. Amongst the BJP candidates, 13 are LLB, 1 is an LLM, 4 are doctors, 4 are PHD, 11 are engineers, 6 are teachers and 2 are MBAs.

The election to the assembly for Gujarat is slated to take place in two phases.

Polling will take place on two dates for two phases on December 1 and 5 respectively.

In the first phase, polling will be held for 89 seats while the second phase will see voting for 93 seats. The term of the 182-member state Assembly ends on February 18, 2023.


(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by HW News staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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