Gujarat BJP’s Parliamentary Board on Tuesday finalised the panel of names of candidates for Lok Sabha seats in the state which will soon be sent to the central leadership for approval. The names will be sent to the BJP’s central Parliamentary Board for final selection of candidates, a party leader said. Gujarat will vote in a single phase on April 23.
"After deliberations spread over three days, the panel of names has been prepared for all the 26 seats of the state," Gujarat BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya told reporters in Gandhinagar. "At a date given by the BJP’s central leadership, top state leaders will go to Delhi and present the names before the central Parliamentary Board of the party," he said. "The final decision regarding candidates will be taken by the central Parliamentary Board," Pandya said.
The panel of names may contain two to four names for each seat, party sources said. The BJP had won all the 26 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, state BJP in-charge Om Mathur and the party’s Gujarat unit president Jitu Vaghani were among those who attended the three-day meeting that concluded on Tuesday.
The sources said no names have been suggested for the Gandhinagar seat, currently held by party veteran L K Advani who is winning from there since 1991. According to BJP observers, party workers want a national leader to contest from the prestigious constituency, the sources said.
The BJP sends observers to get inputs from local workers and leaders on probables candidates from a seat. Two sitting MPs of the BJP, Liladhar Vaghela (Patan) and Vitthal Radadiya (Porbandar), have declined to contest the polls due to health reasons, the sources said, adding they will be replaced.
Suspense prevails over who will contest from the Ahmedabad East seat, currently held by veteran actor Paresh Rawal, as speculation is rife that he has decided not to fight the polls due to his busy schedule.
On the other hand, the Congress has so far declared candidates for four Lok Sabha seats in the state – Ahmedabad West, Anand, Vadodara and Chhota Udepur.