Veteran actor Paresh Rawal has replaced Harin Pathak, a L K Advani loyalist, from the Ahmedabad East constituency. Also left out from the final list of Gujarat candidates released Saturday is sitting MP Dinu Solanki.
The list names candidates for five Lok Sabha and three Assembly constituencies for Gujarat. While two sitting MLAs have been given Lok Sabha tickets, the party has also given the Assembly ticket to two MLAs who recently quit the Congress.
Announced by the state unit after a day-long state parliamentary board meeting held at Gujarat CM’s residence here, the list clearly has Narendra Modi’s imprint.
The 63-year-old Rawal, who is also playing Modi in a film based on the CM’s biography, had extensively campaigned for Modi in the 2012 Assembly elections. He was also instrumental in bringing Bollywood stars like Akshay Kumar closer to Modi.
A Gujarati Brahmin, who has many Gujarati plays and hit movies under his belt, Rawal was considered the best option to replace sitting Brahmin MP Pathak. Pathak, seen as one of the few Advani loyalists left in Gujarat, has represented the same seat for six consecutive terms.
Solanki, who was recently chargesheeted by the CBI in the murder case of RTI activist Amit Jethava, has been dropped from Junagadh. In his place, the BJP has brought in young Mangrol MLA Rajesh Chavda, while Matar MLA Devusinh Chauhan has been fielded against Congress heavyweight Dinsha Patel in Kheda. Ex-MLA Dipsingh Rathore will face Congress’s Shankersinh Vaghela from Sabarkantha Lok Sabha seat.