Paresh Rawal gets BJP ticket at cost of Advani loyalist

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Paresh Rawal gets BJP ticket at cost of Advani loyalist

Disgruntled members in Gujarat’s two main parties, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress, have erupted in unprecedented bedlam over selection of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections.

By Mahesh Trivedi

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Published: Mon 24 Mar 2014, 11:45 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 5:51 PM

While the Congress, which has been out of power in the state for almost two decades, is faced with angry protests in Ahmedabad-West (SC), Kutch (SC), Patan and Banaskantha constituencies, saffronites are up in arms against party leaders in Ahmedabad-East, Mehsana, Dahod and Kheda.

Denial of the BJP ticket to seven-time MP Harin Pathak from Ahmedabad-East to make way for Hindi film actor Paresh Rawal has upset the apple-cart of the former who is jolted by the party’s decision to drop him.

Pathak (67), known as ‘junior Atal Behari Vajpayee’ and a close confidant of BJP veteran L K Advani, told journalists on Sunday that he would stand as an independent and prove his popularity.

Vandana Patel, a senior leader of the BJP women’s wing in north Gujarat, on Sunday was so frustrated after not being given the ticket from Mehsana that immediately joined Aam Aadmi Party with her countless supporters.

With L K Advani retained for Gandhinagar, which he has rarely visited in the past five years, the district BJP unit which was hopeful of a local faithful being given the ticket is also in no mood to back the veteran leader.

Indeed, in the absence of BJP general secretary Amit Shah who led Advani to victory all these years but is busy in Uttar Pradesh, the party may find the going tough in Gandhinagar where voters of the two rural assembly segments have always given a thumbs-down to the ‘outsider’ who has emerged triumphant only because of support from the remaining five urban assembly seats.

Denial of the BJP ticket to five-time MP Rajendrasinh Rana from Bhavnagar has also angered Kshatriyas who have not been allotted even a single seat so far.

Dyed-in-the-wool saffronites are also seething with anger over picking former Congress leaders for Bardoli, Porbandar, Lathi and Abdasa at the cost of local faithfuls.

After Congress nominated Ishwar Makwana for Ahmedabad-West (SC) seat, sitting party MLA from Dariyapur Gyasuddin Shaikh raised his objection. Similarly, some Congress workers are unhappy over its candidate for Kutch seat that is reserved for the SC category.

In Banaskantha again, the cattle-breeding Maldhari community is unhappy over the selection of Joitabhai Patel by the Congress. According to the community leaders who have given a 48-hour ultimatum, the Congress ‘betrayed’ Maldharis.

“Three months ago, we had asked Congress leaders to select a Maldhari leader for at least Banaskantha. Though they assured us that a ticket would be given to our leader Raghu Desai, they betrayed us by nominating Patel,” said Nagji Desai, president of Maldhari Ekta Samiti.

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