Cong confident of good show in Gujarat bypolls, yet to announce candidates | Gujarat Elections News


Congress, Congress flag, Congress logo

The BJP, which posted a landside victory in the Gujarat assembly polls held in December 2022, has chosen these five former MLAs to fight the bypolls on the party’s symbol from their respective seats | (Photo: PTI)

The Congress has expressed confidence about winning all the five vacant assembly seats in Gujarat where bypolls will be held along with the Lok Sabha elections on May 7 though it is yet to announce its candidates.

Along with voting for the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat on May 7, bypolls to five out of six assembly seats which fell vacant after the resignation of sitting MLAs, including four of the Congress and one independent, will be held the same day.

While the ruling BJP has already given tickets to four Congress turncoat MLAs, including former state Congress chief Arjun Modhwadia and an independent legislator who joined the party after quitting his assembly membership, the opposition party has not yet announced its candidates for the bypolls.

Though results of the bypolls will not alter the state assembly power structure as the BJP enjoys a huge majority in the House, the outcome will be crucial for the Congress’s future in Gujarat, a state which was once its stronghold and where the party is out of office for nearly three decades now.

The five assembly constituencies — Vijapur, Porbandar, Manavadar, Khambhat and Vaghodia – fell vacant after their sitting MLAs resigned between December 2023 and March 2024 and subsequently joined the BJP.

The Congress MLAs who resigned were CJ Chavda (Vijapur), Modhwadia (Porbandar), Arvind Ladani (Manavadar) and Chirag Patel (Khambhat). Apart from them, independent MLA from Vaghodia, Dharmendrasinh Vaghela, also resigned as a legislator and joined the saffron party.

The BJP, which posted a landside victory in the Gujarat assembly polls held in December 2022, has chosen these five former MLAs to fight the bypolls on the party’s symbol from their respective seats.

On March 26, an official list declaring them to be BJP candidates for the bypolls to these five seats was issued by the party here.

They all were elected after defeating BJP candidates in the 2022 assembly polls in which the saffron party won 156 of the 182 seats.

After getting the ticket on March 26, Modhwadia thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and assured him that he will function as a common party member and work for landslide victory of the BJP in the Porbandar assembly as well as Lok Sabha seats.

The senior politician, who once served as the leader of opposition in the assembly as well as Gujarat Congress president, defeated BJP heavyweight Babu Bokhiria in 2022.

In his resignation letter to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on March 4, Modhwadia said by declining the invitation for the ‘pran-pratishtha mahotsav’ (consecration ceremony) of ‘Balak Ram’ at Ayodhya, party leaders hurt the sentiments of the people of India and also failed to assess their mood.

The 67-year-old politician, who was with the grand old party for nearly 40 years, had claimed that many people like him were “offended by the manner in which the Congress insulted Lord Ram by boycotting Mahotsav in Ayodhya”.

As part of the seat-sharing formula for the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress has given Bhavnagar and Bharuch constituencies to Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Gujarat Congress president Shaktisinh Gohil recently said there will be no seat-sharing agreement with the AAP on the bypoll-bound five assembly seats because four of them were won by his party in 2022.

State Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said the party is confident of winning the bypolls.

“We are confident of winning all these five seats. We will announce candidates for these seats very soon,” he said.

The Congress currently has 13 MLAs in Gujarat.

In all, six assembly seats are currently vacant in Gujarat. However, the Election Commission has not declared bypoll on the Visavadar seat because a case about the election of its former MLA Bhupat Bhayani is pending before the Gujarat High Court.

Bhayani, who won as the AAP candidate from Visavadar, also resigned in December and later joined the BJP.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Apr 04 2024 | 10:08 AM IST


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