40 renominated in BJP first list

The BJP's Central Election Committee has renominated almost 40 sitting MLAs in its first list that it declared for 84 seats on Thursday. The list for the first phase of Assembly polls on December 13, mainly in Saurashtra and South Gujarat, is topped by Chief Minister Narendra Modi but does not include state BJP's minority face Mahebubali Baba Chishty, who was hoping for a ticket from a constituency in Surat.

While 10 candidates who had lost the last Assembly elections in 2007 have been fielded again, seven sitting MLAs have been dropped.

State BJP chief R C Faldu will contest from Jamnagar Rural while BJP Yuva Morcha president Jitu Vaghani will be in the fray for Bhavnagar West.

In Saurashtra, the BJP dropped only two sitting MLAs in its list for 44 seats in the region.

Agriculture Minister Dileep Sanghani and Minister of State for Fisheries Parshottam Solanki, facing prosecution in an alleged Rs 400-crore fishing contract scam, have been repeated. Solanki will fight Congress Legislature Party chief Shaktisinh Gohil in Bhavnagar Rural.

The other controversial face is Babu Bokhiriya, the former minister who is accused in the Rs 200-crore mining contract and a suspect in the murder of Congress leader Mulu Modhwadia. Bokhiriya will contest from Porbandar against Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president Arjun Modhwadia.

For Junagadh seat, the BJP has repeated sitting MLA Mahendra Mashru, was recently made an accused in the case where 23 thalassemic children tested HIV positive last year after undergoing blood transfusion at Sarvoday Blood Bank he runs at Junagadh Civil Hospital.

The prize was, however, reserved for Poonam Madam, a relative of Congress MP Vikram Madam, who quit Congress only on Thursday morning after being denied a nomination for Khambhalia seat. Within hours, the BJP gave her ticket from this seat, while dropping its sitting MLA Meghji Kanzariya. Madam is among the 11 women fielded by the party.

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