In a bid to pacify the agitated Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), the Congress on Monday, 20 November, released its second list of candidates for the Gujarat Assembly polls. It listed nine new nominees and replaced four from its first list of 77 candidates following protests by the Hardik Patel-led PASS.
Bhikhabhai Joshi has replaced Amit Thummar in Junagadh, Jaish Patel has been named for Bharuch instead of Kiran Thakor, Ashok Jirawala will contest from Kamrej in place of Nilesh Kumbani and Dhirubhai Gajera is the new candidate for the Varachha Road seat in place of Prafulbhai C Togadiya.
Patidar candidates Thummar, Kumbani and Togadiya, cousin of VHP leader Pravin Togadia, were replaced after PAAS members reportedly raised objection to their candidature.
Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee chief Bharatsinh Solanki told The Indian Express that the changes were made looking at the “political situation because we have to win”.
PAAS’s Surat co-convener Dharmik Malaviya told The Indian Express:
For the first time, the Congress has bowed down before PAAS and changed candidates. The PAAS team is happy and will support Congress. The support of PAAS to Congress will be announced by Hardik Patel at a press conference in Ahmedabad on 21 November.
PAAS Irked by Congress’ First List
The first list of 77 candidates released by the Congress came as a disappointment for the PAAS, as only two of its members found a place in it.
Two PAAS members – Lalit Vasoya and Amit Thummar – found their names in the list released, even as the Hardik Patel-led organisation had demanded 20 seats.
Upset with the development, the PAAS leadership directed its two members (who were given tickets) not to fill their nomination forms, as a sign of protest.
However, one of them (Vasoya) filed his nomination from Dhroaji seat on the Congress' ticket.
Patidar leaders and workers even vandalised the Congress’ office in Surat, late on 19 November.
The polling for the two-phase elections for the 182 seats will be held on 9 December and 14 December. The counting of votes will be held on 18 December.
(This story has been updated to reflect the second list of candidates.)
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