'Gentlemanly' Keshubhai Patel puts Shweta Bhatt in line of Narendra Modi fire

Shweta Bhatt

Gujarat Parivartan Party today withdraws its candidate from Maninagar constituency, paving way for a direct contest between Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Congress candidate Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt.

"We are withdrawing our candidate, Pravin Patel, from Maninagar Assembly constituency in favour of Congress candidate Shweta Bhatt so that there is a direct fight between Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Shweta Bhatt," (GPP) general secretary Gordhan Zadaphia told newspersons here.

The move comes following Shweta Bhatt's appeal to Keshubhai Patel-led Gujarat Parivartan Party to withdraw its candidate in fray from Maninagar.

"I appeal to all the political parties which oppose BJP to support me in my political battle against the Gujarat Chief Minister... I appeal especially to GPP Chief Keshubhai Patel to withdraw his candidate," Shweta had told reporters yesterday.

"I am confident that Keshubhai will accept my appeal," she had said.

Maninagar, a BJP-dominated constituency, has seen Modi winning for the last two times.

In the 2007 Assembly elections, Congress had fielded the now Union Mines Minister Dinsha Patel from Maninagar and Modi had won by 87,161 votes.

GPP is returning the favour to Congress after the latter did not field a candidate against party president Keshubhai Patel from Visavadar assembly constituency in Junagadh district.

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