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BJP faces rebellion ahead of Gujarat assembly polls; 5 leaders who threaten to fight as independents

At least one incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party MLA and four former lawmakers have threatened to run as independents after being denied tickets to the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections by the BJP.

While some of these disaffected leaders have said they will take their next step after consulting with supporters, former BJP MLA and the party’s well-known tribal face, Harshad Vasava, filed all his nomination papers Friday as independent from Nandod seat reserved for Scheduled Tribe Candidates.

Vasava is the chairman of Gujarat BJP’s Scheduled Tribe Morcha and represented the former Rajpipla seat between 2002 and 2007 and from 2007 to 2012.

Nandod in Narmada district is currently held by Congress. The BJP has Dr. Darshana Deshmukh kicked out of the chair.

Unhappy about the announcement, Vasava resigned from his position in the BJP and submitted his nomination papers for the Nandod seat on Friday.

The elections for the 182-member Gujarat Assembly will be held in two phases on December 1 and 5. The counting of votes will start on December 8.

“There is an original BJP and a double BJP here. We will expose those who have sidelined dedicated workers and given key posts to newcomers. I sent my resignation to the party. People in this area know how much work I did as an MLA between 2002 and 2012,” Vasava told reporters after submitting his nomination as an independent.

In neighboring Vadodara district, an incumbent and two former BJP MLAs face the party after being denied tickets.

Six-time MLA Madhu Shrivastav of Vaghodia, who has been denied a ticket, said he will fight as an independent if his supporters want to. The BJP has kicked Ashwin Patel out of the seat.

Another former BJP MLA Dinesh Patel alias Dinu Mama from Padra seat in Vadodara district has also said he would contest the elections independently. The BJP has given the ticket to Chaitanyasinh Zala. The seat is held by Congress.

In Karjan, former BJP MLA Satish Patel is unhappy after the BJP decided to reinstate incumbent lawmaker Akshay Patel.

Akshay Patel had won the convention ticket from the seat in 2017. He joined the BJP in 2020 and won the subsequent bypoll.

“Everyone knows what Akshay Patel did as MLA. My supporters and cooperative sector leaders of Karjan have asked me to compete in this election, also as an independent. I was not consulted before the party decided to give the ticket to Akshay Patel,” Satish Patel told reporters in Karjan.

“In fact, 80 percent of the BJP workers and office holders had recommended my name during the ‘sentence’ exercise. But in the end I was rejected. We would have accepted any other person as a candidate, but BJP workers and local leaders can never accept Akshay Patel,” he claimed.

During a damage control exercise, the general secretary of state BJP Bhargav Bhatt and the minister of state for Home Harsh Sanghavi visited Vadodara on Saturday and met with local party workers. Bhatt radiated confidence that the BJP will win all the seats from Vadodara.

“We will convince Dinu Mama not to go through with his plans. There is still room. He has always stayed with the BJP and we are sure he will come back. He has not yet submitted his nomination as an independent,” Bhatt said.

Speaking on the matter, Sanghavi said: “The BJP is like a family and all members of this family are united. We are all one and the BJP will win the elections with the support of the people.” Meanwhile, Arvind Ladani, former BJP MLA of Junagadh’s Keshod seat, announced on Saturday that he would compete as an independent in the polls after the party gave the ticket to present MLA Devabhai Malam.

“People from Keshod are angry because I was refused the ticket by the BJP. People know how much work I’ve done for Keshod. So both people and my supporters have asked me to fight as an independent. I will submit my nomination on November 14,” said Ladani, who was the MLA from 2012 to 2017. The BJP has so far named candidates for 166 Assembly seats out of a total of 182.

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