Surat, November 22, 2017
By Sudeep Sonawane
Choosing and naming candidates for elections is a critical decision for most political parties. Party leaders face a difficult task because cannot please everybody. Their plight is like a cricket umpire – no one lauds good decisions and the world slams him for one bad decision. Do we choose a faithful and diligent worker, or drop him for newly joined opposition party defector, or offer ticket to someone who makes a large donation?
Whoever the party leaders choose, they face intense pressure of lobbying before announcing the nominees and dealing with disgruntled workers post announcement. Gujarat is witnessing this after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indian National Congress (INC) released their lists of nominees for the State elections that start December 9.
BJP leaders grapple with disgruntled senior members after the high drama seen on November 21, the last day of filing of nomination papers by candidates in Gujarat.
A section of the media reports angry protests by disgruntled BJP members from over 40 constituencies.
Senior journalist Nachiketa Desai highlights the ire of members refused tickets in his report published by Delhi–based National Herald India. He writes, “Former minister Ranjitsinh Jhala left BJP embarrassed by walking out alleging the party chose industrialist Dhanji Patel to contest from Wadhwan because he paid Rs 9 crore.”
The BJP dropped sitting legislator Varsha Doshi for Patel.
The report quotes Jhala questioning BJP, “I had not asked for a ticket, but how can I tolerate such a gross malpractice of fielding a candidate on monetary consideration?”
The report says, “BJP did not name former minister and party spokesperson IK Jadeja from Wadhwan.” It speculates Jadeja’s good ties with former Gujarat Chief Minister Ms Anandi Patel as for bypassing him. Ms Anandi has a feud with the BJP President Amit Shah.”
Jadeja’s supporters gathered at state BJP headquarters and raised slogans against the party president. Jadeja, a Kshatriya leader, raised slogans against the party after he was denied ticket from Wadhwan in Saurashtra. Hundreds of party workers from Nandod (ST), Nikol, Naroda, Kheralu and Anklav seats reached Kamalam to ‘warn’ the BJP of consequences if their demands were not met.
Sitting MLA Jethabhai Solanki from Kodinar constituency of Saurashtra region, resigned after he failed to get a ticket. A prominent Dalit, Solanki won by 63,300 votes from this seat in 2012.
Solanki, who was also a Parliamentary Secretary, resigned from the party and his posts.
From the day BJP announced candidates for the first phase of polls; it has seen protests and resignations of local leaders in Vadodara. The disgruntled members are from tribal constituencies of Chhota Udepur and Bharuch districts, Navsari in South Gujarat and Mahuva, Jasdan and Amreli in Saurashtra.
Saurabh Patel figures in this list, but from Botad seat in Saurashtra instead of Akota in Vadodara. The former industries and petrochemicals minister is close to Ms Anandi Patel. Ms Anandi Patel’s confidante Ms Vasu Trivedi too missed out from Jamnagar.
Minister of State and diamond merchant Nanubhai Vanani, the sharpest critic of pro Patidar-quota leader Hardik Patel, too missed the bus from Surat. BJP replaced five candidates in Surat, the centre of the Patidar protest.