Gandhinagar, April 4 (IANS) The Congress on Thursday made the much-awaited announcement of candidates for the Bharuch and the Dahod tribal seats for the Lok Sabha elections on the last day of filing nominations. Veteran Ahmed Patel is not in the race.
Gujarat votes on April 23 for all 26 Lok Sabha seats.
Setting at rest all speculation that the BJP will field Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman from Ahmedabad East in place of outgoing MP and Bollywood actor Paresh Rawal, the party has nominated sitting MLA from Amraiwadi H.S. Patel.
The Congress has fielded Sher Khan Abdul Shakur Pathan in Bharuch while the Dahod seat has gone to Babubhai Katara. Dahod is a Scheduled Tribe (ST) reserved seat.
There were many requests from senior Gujarat Congress leaders to the high command to field veteran leader Ahmed Patel from Bharuch in South Gujarat.
Patel had won the Lok Sabha seat in 1977, 1980 and 1984. After losing in 1991 against BJP’s Chandubhai Deshmukh, he had stopped contesting from Bharuch and since then he has been a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat.
Later, the opinion prevailed that since Patel is the national Treasurer and has several other organisational responsibilies, he should not be tied down to a seat.
There were two names for the candidature for Dahod. Former MP Prabha Taviyad was also in the race but Katara has been selected.
The Congress also announced on Thursday the candidate for the by-elections for Unjha Assembly seat, vacated by the Congress turncoat Ashaben Patel, who quit the seat and joined the BJP.
Kantilal Muljibhai Patel has been nominated in Unjha by the Congress.