Amit Shah, charged in Sohrabuddin case, gets BJP ticket

FP

Gujarat's controversial former minister Amit Shah, who is accused in an alleged fake encounter case, was Wednesday nominated by the BJP to contest next month's assembly election from Naranpura constituency.

A former minister of state for home, Shah is facing charges in the alleged fake encounters of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati. He returned to the state in September after the Supreme Court rejected the CBI's plea to cancel his bail given by Gujarat High Court.

Shah is considered to be a key strategist of Chief Minister Narendra Modi and represents Sarkhej, a constituency that has been eliminated by delimitation. His name was among the 89 the BJP announced in its second list. Modi's entire cabinet and almost all junior ministers were renominated, although they will contest from different constituencies due to delimitation.

The party did not announce its candidates for five seats, including Dehgam and Gandhinagar North, from where the Congress may field former chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela. Reached for his comment, Vaghela told The Indian Express that he would contest only if the party wanted him to.

"If the party sees me as captain of the kabaddi team, they will consider," Vaghela said, referring to a BJP video ad showing a kabaddi game in which one team wearing saffron jerseys has a clear captain and the rival team fumbles when its captain is called.

Others nominated by the BJP include former MLA Kalu Maliwad, who was accused in one of the 2002 riot cases in Panchmahals and went on to become a MLA in elections that followed later that year. He was one of the main organisers of Modi's Sadbhavana fast in Godhra.

Two former Vaghela loyalists, Jagrupsinh Rajput, a former deputy mayor of Ahmedabad, and Girish Parmar, a former Congress vice president, are also on the BJP's second list.

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