Total 59 candidates were left in the fray for by-election to five Assembly constituencies in Saurashtra-Kutch region as nine Independents withdrew their candidature on the last day of withdrawing nomination papers, on Monday. Limbdi Assembly constituency in Surendranagar district has 14 candidates, while Dhari seat in Amreli has 10, the least among the five seats.
While around five dozen candidates have been left in contention for the by-election to Limdi, Morbi, Abadasa, Dhari and Gadhda seats, the main contest in all of the segments is between candidates of BJP and Congress.
With 14 candidates in the race, Limbdi has the highest number of contenders. They include former minister Kiritsinh Rana of the BJP and Chetan Khachar of Congress. Total 23 candidates, including one dummy each of Congress and the BJP had filed their nomination papers for Limdi. However, nomination papers of nine, including those filed by two dummies, were rejected during scrutiny on Saturday.
Gopal Makwana, a relative of former MP Savshi Makwana, was among those whose papers had been rejected. “He had attached an incomplete affidavit to his nomination papers. We had informed him about this in written and had given him opportunity to provide a complete affidavit. But he failed to do it in due time. So, we informed him that we were rejecting his nomination papers and didn’t object,” H M Solanki, returning officer for Limbdi by-election, told The Indian Express.
Rana, then a sitting MLA from Limbdi, had lost to Soma Ganda Patel of Congress in the 2017 Assembly election but the seat had fallen vacant after Patel resigned in the run up to Rajya Sabha (RS) election in the state.
Morbi and Gadhda Assembly seats have 12 candidates each left in the contest. Brijesh Merja, the Congress turncoat MLA, is the BJP candidate this bypoll, while Congress has given ticket to industrialist Jayantilal Patel to challenge him. Total 20 persons had filed their nomination papers for Morbi bypoll. While papers of two were rejected during scrutiny on Saturday, eight others withdrew their candidature on Saturday. Hushen Bhatti of All India Majlis-E-Inquillab-E-Millat and nine Independents have been left in the contest.
In Gadhda, former minister Atmaram Parmar is the BJP nominee while Congress has fielded Mohan Solanki, a builder from Bhavnagar district. Gadhda Assembly constituency reserved for candidates of the Scheduled Castes (SC) had fallen vacant after Congress MLA Pravin Maru resigned as MLA also from the party in the run up to the RS election in the state in June this year.
Incidentally, Maru had defeated Parmar in the general election to the Gadhda seat in 2017. Total 16 persons had filed nomination papers for Gadhda bypoll. During scrutiny, papers of three candidates were rejected on various grounds while one candidate withdrew his candidature on Monday. Vinu Parmar of Rashtiya Jan Chetna party and nine Independents are among those left in the fray.
J V Kakadiya of the BJP and Suresh Kotadiya of Congress are among the 11 candidates left in the fray for Dhari Assembly segment in Amreli district. Kakadiya was elected MLA from Dhari in 2017 but he too resigned ahead of the RS poll. The ruling party has given him ticket to contest the bypoll warranted due to his resignation. Suresh, son of late Union minister Manu Kotadiya, is his main rival. Total 15 persons, including two dummies of BJP and Congress had filed their nomination papers. Papers of two dummies were rejected during scrutiny while one Independent withdrew from the race on Monday. Kanu Aghera of Rashtriya Jan Chetana Party, Kapil Vegda of Yuva Janjagruti Party, Bhuptan Unava of Vyavastha Parivartan Party and six Independents are left in the contention.
In Abadasa seat in Kutch district, stage is set for a contest primarily between Pradyumansinh Jadeja of the BJP and Dr Shantilal Senghani of Congress even though total 10 candidates were left in the race after nine others withdrew their candidature on Monday. Nomination papers of seven others were rejected on Saturday. This seat had fallen vacant after Jadeja, the sitting Congress MLA, resigned ahead of RS poll and later defected to the BJP.
Besides Jadeja and Senghani, Yakuv Mutva of Bahujan Mutki Party, Ramji Maheshwari of Bharatiya Jan Parishad and Bhimji Meghwal of Bahujan Maha Party as well as five Independents have been left in the race.
Polling of the five seats is scheduled to be conducted on November 3 while counting of votes will take place on November 10.
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