Gujarat Assembly Elections: 14 Congress Rebel MLAs to Contest on BJP Ticket

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Gandhinagar, October 23: In a boost to Bharatiya Janata Party prospects in the Gujarat Assembly elections, 14 Congress rebel MLAs are likely to contest the crucial polls on the saffron party ticket. It is aimed at hampering Congress’s poll prospects with a hope to add votes that have eluded the BJP so far.

Twelve Congress rebels will be BJP’s official candidates in the upcoming elections with Shankersinh Vaghela and his son Mahendrasinh, who have floated a new political outfit, likely to contest in alliance with the saffron party, sources said. “The Congress MLAs will add votes to the BJP kitty as most of them have their own following,” said a party leader, the Times of India reported.

BJP leaders expect former Congress MLAs to put in all their energy and resources in retaining their seats and woo more voters so as to counter the Congress’s challenge. The decision of Other Backward Class leader Alpesh Thakor to join Congress is seen as party’s expanding base in the state but not in a major way as BJP believes the community vote has tilted towards the rival which has leaders like Bharatsinh Solanki in its ranks.

Meanwhile, the Thakor community is seen at odds with Patels who have had differences with the BJP.

The party is likely to follow the same winning formula it had applied in Uttar Pradesha and Uttarakhand where it gave tickets to several leaders from Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party.

Recently, 70 members of Patel Amanat Andolan Samiti, including aides of Hardik Patel — Varun Patel, Reshma Patel, Mahesh Patel and Geeta Patel, have announced their decision to join BJP.

The Election Commission is likely to announce the poll dates for the 182-member Assembly on Monday. It will be direct contest between the BJP and Congress with senior leaders of both the parties campaigning in the state.