February 5, 2021 3:33:43 am
The Gujarat BJP on Thursday announced its candidates for 575 out of 576 seats of six municipal corporations which are going to polls on February 21, largely complying with the criteria party chief CR Paatil set for age, terms and keeping family members of functionaries out of the lists. The lone seat where candidate was not declared was of ward 11 in Adajan area of Surat.
Unruly scenes were witnessed in Surat, home to Paatil, where workers came out on the streets to protest the nomination of Dharmesh Sarasiya in Ward 3, as also in Varachha and Kapodara which witnessed protests areas against the nominations.
Angry scenes were witnessed even at BJP offices in Vadodara and Rajkot, mostly against ‘seniors being ignored’ in the nominations.
Ahmedabad saw a few exceptions to the bar set by Paatil where relatives of incumbent party functionaries got tickets and in Surat where a 61-year-old sitting woman corporator got the party mandate to contest the election.
Five tickets went to Muslims in Jamnagar Mu-nicipal Corpora-tion, as against six awarded in 2015. This is the only MC where Musl-ims are contesting on BJP tickets.
The BJP delcared its candidates after a three-day parliamentary board meeting where it was decided to deny tickets to candidates falling under 4 categories — those who have completed three or more terms, who are above 60 years of age, who are relatives of party leaders and who are former mayors.
A number of sitting corporators of the party, which is in power in all the six municipal corporations, lost their chance to contest the election again owing to the new bars. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s niece who sought to contest from Bodakdev ward of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, wad denied ticket.
The six municipal corporations going to polls are Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar. Counting of votes for the six municipal corporations is scheduled on February 23.
Addressing a press conference ahead of the declaration of the tickets from party state headquarters Shree Kamalam in Gandhinagar, state BJP chief CR Paatil said that all the party candidates will submit their nominations at 12.39 pm Friday to respective Returning Officers (ROs), while following Covid-19 norms.
Paatil added that the selection of candidates was done while also considering the four new bars set for giving tickets.
“I am very happy and thank the (party) workers that they have received the decision spontaneously and enthusiastically and supported us. No party worker has indulged in any indiscipline and has followed the rules while participating in the process (of selecting candidates),” Paatil said.
Quoting Paatil, an official release stated that the decision to not give ticket to relatives of party leaders was to check nepotism and it has been welcomed by all the workers.
“Senior workers of the BJP have happily vacated the space for giving opportunity to new workers and it is the biggest capital of the party,” the release added.
The party president also said that if an office bearer gets a ticket, then he/she will have to resign from the party post. Paatil said that for each ward, the party received 50-60 forms and from them the party has selected the candidates in a democratic manner.
In Ahmedabad, contrary to speculations, the party has not given a single ticket to a Muslim candidate even in Muslim dominated areas, while a number of party workers were denied ticket on the basis of the new bars imposed by the parliamentary board.
At the same time, some alleged violations of the rules have also been witnessed.
Daughter of Prime Minister’s brother Prahlad Modi, Sonal, sought ticket as an OBC woman candidate but was denied. While speaking on his daughter seeking a party ticket, Prahlad said, “I believe that in this situation where she has sought ticket…, Narendrabhai’s feelings and BJP office bearers’ feelings towards Narendrabhai will be established.”
However, he later stated, “My daughter should get ticket only if she falls under the criteria… And not because she is daughter of Narendra Modi’s brother.”
On Thursday, when asked about his daughter not getting BJP ticket, Prahlad said, “The party might not have liked it… If they think it appropriate, they will give (the ticket). If they do not find it appropriate, they do not give (the ticket). I do not have any comment.”
Some party workers in Ahmedabad alleged violation of the bar set by the parliamentary board of not giving ticket to the relatives of a party leader.
In Rajkot, former MLA Bhanuben Babariya (45) was on the list of 72 candidates announced by BJP. Notably, 28 out of 40 sitting corporators were dropped, including outgoing mayor Bina Acharya and deputy mayor Ashwin Moliya.
In Bhavnagar, outgoing mayor Manbha Mori was among 10 sitting corporators who were denied ticket apparently because they have served three terms as corporators or are more than 60 years of age even as party repeated 12 of its 31 sitting corporators.
In Jamnagar, 12 sitting corporators, including outgoing mayor Hasmukh Jethava, were dropped from the list. The list of 64 candidates include five Muslims.
The ruling BJP has repeated only 15 of its 58 outgoing corporators in the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC). The list includes renowned faces from the party as first time contestants including Dr Sheetal Mistry, who is the nodal medical officer of the Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society (GMERS)-run Gotri Covid19 hospital. Sitting Vadodara MP Ranjan Bhatt’s sister, Panna Desai, has been denied a party ticket for a possible second term in the VMC.
Surat BJP, home of CR Paatil, has witnessed maximum number of sitting corporators not getting ticket this time. Out of the 80 sitting corporators, only 13 have got a party ticket.
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