The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) released its second list of candidates for the coming Assembly polls in Gujarat Thursday, for nine constituencies in Saurashtra and Central Gujarat.
No other party in Gujarat, including the BJP and Congress, has released any names so far. Elections are due in the state at the end of this year.
AAP’s second list includes Raju Karpada from Chotila seat in Surendranagar; Piyush Parmar from Mangrol seat in Junagadh; Karsanbhai Karmur from Jamnagar North seat; Nimisha Khunt from Gondal seat in Rajkot; Prakashbhai Contractor from Choryasi seat in Surat; Vikram Sorani from Wankaner seat in Morbi; Bharat Vakhala from Devgadhbaria seat in Dahod; J J Mevada from Asarwa seat in Ahmedabad; and Vipul Sakhiya from Dhoraji seat in Rajkot.
AAP had earlier released a list with 10 names, hence declaring nominees now for 19 seats out of 182.
Announcing the names at a press conference in Ahmedabad, AAP Gujarat chief Gopal Italia said: “AAP is becoming stronger each day in Gujarat. The people are excited due to the guarantees given by Arvind Kejriwal, be it the promise of 10 lakh jobs, 300 units of free electricity or free education. As a testimony to our party’s increasing popularity, we have today announced a second list of candidates for the coming polls.”
Italia added that after they announced the first list, they had received congratulatory calls from people in the BJP as well. “They told us that it was an absolutely right decision to announce the list four-five months prior to elections so that candidates have ample time to interact with the voters in their constituencies.”
The first list had four leaders formerly from the BJP or the Congress, as well as a mix of caste groups. The second list has fewer veterans, and more farmer and activist leaders.
Asked about AAP leaving other parties behind in announcing its candidates, Congress in-charge for Gujarat Raghu Sharma said Thursday: “The Congress will also name its candidates before the stipulated time.”
The new list of nine:
Raju Karpada: The president of AAP’s Gujarat Kisan Wing, Karpada is a popular farmer activist from Chotila in Surendranagar. He has been jailed in the past over his involvement in farmer agitations in the state.
Piyush Parmar: Recently elected to the Maliya Hatina Taluka Panchayat in Mangrol of Junagadh in 2019, Parmar is a Kshatriya leader who came into prominence because of his philanthropic work during Covid. He distributed free vegetables to the poor in Maliya on a daily basis.
Nimisha Khunt: The only woman candidate in the second AAP list, Khunt was first appointed as one of the vice-presidents of the state’s Gujarat unit in 2021.
Prakashbhai Contractor: A Koli community leader, Prakash Contractor has been agitating against the acquisition of land of Koli community people in Choryasi of Surat by private companies. He runs an organisation called the Parivartan Trust in Surat.
Vikram Sorani: Another Koli community leader, Sorani is the Gujarat president of the Shree Akhil Bharatiya Koli / Kori Samaj and is known for organising mass wedding ceremonies of all communities.
J J Mevada: A retired deputy superintendent of police, Mevada has been an AAP worker for nine years. He contested the 2014 Lok Sabha and 2017 Gujarat Vidhan Sabha polls and was made the AAP Ahmedabad city president in 2021.
Karsanbhai Karmur: Former deputy mayor of Jamnagar Municipal Corporation, Karsanbhai is a businessman from Jamnagar.
Bharat Vakhala: He is currently a member of the Devgadhbaria Taluka Panchayat.
Vipul Sakhiya: A farmer activist from Dhoraji, he has been agitating on issues of river pollution and irrigation.