February 5, 2021 3:11:31 am
FORMER MLA Bhanuben Babariya, and Devang Mankad and Nehal Shukla—both office bearers of the BJP — were on the list of 72 candidates announced by the ruling party Thursday for the election to Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC).
The party also dropped 28 out of its 40 corporators from the list, including outgoing mayor Bina Acharya and deputy mayor Ashwin Moliya. Hasmukh Jethva and Manbha Mori, outgoing mayors of Jamnagar and Bhavnagar respectively, also did not find favour with the party this time. Along with Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar are the two other municipal corporations in the Saurashtra going to the poll on February 21.
On February 1, party state president C R Paatil had announced that the BJP would not consider those who have either won three elections, or are more than 60 years of age or are relatives of elected leaders of the BJP and the three mayors fell one of those three categories.
Babariya, who was elected MLA from Rajkot-Rural (SC) seat in 2012 Assembly election, was declared as the BJP candidate for RMC Ward No.1.
This is first election 45-year-old Babariya would be contesting after her maiden victory in Assembly poll RMC Ward No.1 is part of Rajkot (west), the Assembly constituency presently represented by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.
“I was told by the party to contest the civic body election and had accordingly submitted my application for an election ticket. I will be contesting this election not as a former MLA but as a common BJP worker,” Babariya told The Indian Express. Mankad, incumbent general secretary of the BJP’s Rajkot city unit was also on the list of 72 BJP candidates for RMC election. Mankad was elected corporator of RMC in 2005 and 2010 but was denied a ticket in 2015. Nehal Shukla, younger brother of former standing committee chairman and sitting BJP corporator Kashyap Shukla, will fight his maiden competitive electoral political battle in place of his brother who has been denied ticket apparently due to being more than 60 years of age.
Nehal is general secretary of the Gujarat state unit of Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the BJP, and also a member of the syndicate of Saurashtra University.
However, the party dropped outgoing mayor Bina Acharya and deputy mayor Ashwin Moliya. While Acharya is more than 60 year old, Moliya is 57. Ajay Parmar, the BJP whip in the outgoing RMC general board was among 16 other corporators who were eligible to contest but have been overlooked by the party .
Nitin Bhardwaj, CM Rupani’s close aide and former RMC standing committee chairman who had already expressed his unwillingness to seek re-election, led the list of 12 sitting corporators who fell in one of th three categories of party workers declared ineligible by Paatil to get a party ticket, was also not on the list of 72 candidates. The party has dropped its lone Muslim corporator Sofia Dal and has not nominated any Muslim candidate this time.
Anish Joshi, president of BJP’s unit for Ward No.15 had a heated verbal exchange with city unit president Kamlesh Mirani at the party office after he failed to get a ticket and declared that he was resigning from the party.
The BJP declared its list for 52 seats of Bhavnagar Municipal Corp-oration on Thursday and outgoing mayor Manbha Mori was among 10 sitting corporators who were denied ticket apparently because they have already served three terms as corporators or are more than 60 years old. BJP repeated 12 of its 31 sitting corporators. Like in Rajkot, the saffron party has not given any ticket to Muslims.
Outgoing mayor Hasmukh Jethava did not find place on the list of candidates announced by BJP for 64 seats of Jamnagar Municipal Corporation. Besides Jethva, 13 other sitting corporators also did not figure on the list even as party gave ticket to other 18 sitting corporators. Jethva’s son Parth has been given ticket to contest from Ward No.10.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines