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Gujarat local body polls: Dissent over candidates escalates in BJP

Claiming that tickets were being given to “outsiders”—either those from a different ward or those who have origins in other states, the workers sat on the main road in protest

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat, Vadodara |
February 6, 2021 2:21:50 am
CR Paatil, Gujarat bjp president, Gujarat municipal councils, gujarat local body polls, Gujarat bjp, inidna express newsIn Surat, several party members protested outside the party headquarters as well as the office of state chief CR Paatil’s office on Friday. (Representational)

The dissent that has been brewing in the BJP on account of several senior party functionaries being denied tickets to contest the upcoming local body elections in Surat, Jamnagar and Vadodara escalated a day after the party declared the candidates, even as Congress alleged “conflict of interest” as members of the government-appointed Fee Regulatory Committee (FRC) were given tickets in Vadodara and Ahmedabad.

In Surat, several party members protested outside the party headquarters as well as the office of state chief CR Paatil’s office on Friday.

Claiming that tickets were being given to “outsiders”—either those from a different ward or those who have origins in other states, the workers sat on the main road in protest, while a migrant leader from Uttar Pradesh, who had been representing the north Indian migrants in Surat, resigned on not being given a ticket.

The state BJP unit on Thursday declared its list of 119 candidates, retaining just 13 from the earlier body. A name on one seat is yet to be declared.

BJP member and a resident of Ward 29, Vijay Patel, who is originally from UP and had aspired for a ticket and resigned from the party on Friday, said, “All four candidates in Ward 29 are from other wards… We were not allowed to enter the BJP office to give our resignations, so we went to CR Paatil’s office… there also we were not allowed to enter, so we gave our resignations to the ward president.”

Surat city BJP president Niranjan Janjmera said he had not received any resignations. “We will try to calm Vijay Patel down,” he said.

In Vadodara, workers from wards 3, 17 and 18 threatened not to campaign. In Ward 3, the exclusion of sitting corporator Kalpana Patel resulted in a showdown at the BJP party office late Thursday night. In Ward 18, the exclusion of frontrunner Narendra Solanki upset party workers who submitted their resignations. The party is yet to take a call on the same.

Sunil Solanki, general secretary of Vadodara city unit BJP said, “The protests are visible this time because many people have joined since the last election and we have grown in numbers… We will bring everyone together in the coming days.”

The BJP parliamentary board presided over by Paatil decided this time to not give tickets to those over 60 years old, those who had done at least three terms, those whose relatives were on party positions and those who had been mayors.

Meanwhile, the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee raised objection to the BJP giving tickets to Jainik Vakil, 44, a member of the Fee Regulatory Committee (FRC) under the Gujarat Self-Financed Schools (Regulation of Fees) Act, 2017 for the Ahmedabad zone, and Keyur Rokadia, member of the Vadodara zone FRC.

Both Vakil and Rokadia resigned from the respective FRC panels on accepting the BJP nominations. Responding to the Congress allegation, Vakil said he had resigned as FRC member on Thursday. “There was no condition from the party for me to resign but I resigned on my own on moral grounds… I put in my resignation papers yesterday,” he said.

Karshan Karmur, outgoing deputy mayor of Jamangar city, resigned from BJP after he was denied a ticket. Hours later, he joined the AAP on Friday. “Besides being deputy mayor, I was among the senior most corporators in Jamnagar Municipal Corporation, having won the election five consecutive times,” Karmur, a real-estate developer, said.

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