New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president JP Nadda are among the star campaigners for the Gujarat Assembly elections next month.
The saffron party has released a list of 40 star campaigners that also includes Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Shivraj Singh, Ravi Kishan, Manoj Tiwari, Hema Malini, Paresh Rawal, Vijay Rupani and Nitin Patel.
Apart from this, the Chief Ministers of several BJP-ruled states also features in this list. Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Assam’s Himanta Biswa Sarma and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis are among them.
Names of former Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and former Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel have been included as well. Notably, both had refused to contest the election.
Meanwhile, after bringing in a first-time MLA as the Gujarat chief minister a year back, the BJP central leadership Thursday made a sweeping change in the profile of party candidates for the assembly polls by denying tickets to 38 MLAs (nearly one fourth) and giving space to new faces, including Patidar leader Hardik Patel and cricketer Ravindra Jadeja’s wife Rivaba.
The ruling party has fielded 40 Patidar and 49 OBC candidates in its first list. It is to be noted that the announcement came a day after four top BJP leaders, including former chief minister Vijay Rupani and his deputy Nitin Patel, said they had opted out of the electoral race in order to make way for new faces.
The party said their decision showed a “generational shift”.
“Thirty-eight MLAs have been replaced… BJP usually changes 20% of its MLAs. In electoral democracy, change is necessary, otherwise it will lead to stagnation. We have given tickets to several youngsters. This list shows a generational shift in Gujarat BJP,” party’s state unit chief CR Patil told news agency PTI.
Polling will be held in two phases in Gujarat on December 1 and 5 and the votes will be counted on December 8.