The signs of trouble escalated for the BJP in Ahmedabad two days after the party replaced sitting Ahmedabad East MP Harin Pathak with actor Paresh Rawal in its list for April 20 LS elections. Dehgam, an assembly constituency under this LS seat, observed bandh on the call given by Pathak’s local BJP supporters on Monday. The BJP, however, has begun the damage control by organising Mumbai-based Rawal’s visit to Ahmedabad East on Tuesday.
According to reports, the town largely remained closed, except for schools, where annual examinations are either on or approaching. Shutters of shops and other commercial establishment remained down as the police did the patrolling. On Sunday, Pathak’s supporters had burned down Rawal’s effigy.
“Some supporters were against the candidature of Rawal and they called for bandh. The BJP unit had not called for bandh,” said Dehgam taluka president Bimal Amin. He added, “The BJP unit is not against Rawal’s candidature. We will be present at the airport to welcome Rawal on Tuesday”.
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Pathak, when contacted by The Indian Express, was not available for comment. Seen as a loyalist of party patriarch Lal Krishna Advani, a disappointed Pathak on Sunday had announced to decide the future course after consulting his supporters in three days. Pathak, who has represented Ahmedabad East for seven consecutive terms, alleged that “turncoats” have been favoured against the loyal party workers. While Ahmedabad East has remained BJP’s bastion, Congress candidate Kaminiba Rathod won from Dehgam in the Assembly elections in 2012.