Pandya wife is Keshubhai candidate

FP

Jagruti Pandya, wife of slain minister Haren Pandya, has joined Keshubhai Patel's Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) and on Thursday filed her nomination for Ellisbridge, her husband's seat. She told reporters that she is a shadow of her husband and hoped that the people of Ellisbridge would pay him a tribute by electing her.

With her was Janaksinh Parmar, a staunch Haren Pandya supporter who had lodged a police complaint in the leader's murder. Parmar has since joined the Congress. "I am with the Congress, but since Harenbhai was my political guru, I went there to wish ben," he told The Indian Express. Asked if he would campaign for the Congress candidate against Jagruti, Parmar refused to reply.

To questions about her husband's murder, Jagruti said she had got no cooperation from the BJP in her fight for justice. "For some reason, no leader from the party has cooperated with me," she said. "This is the party for whose sake my husband chose not to care even for his life. I did not imagine we would be back-stabbed."

The past 10 years have been tough on her, with her family duties, she said. "Now that I feel relief from (the pressure), I have decided to contest from Ellisbridge to fulfil my husband's dreams," she said.

Haren Pandya had been killed in March 2003 near Law Garden. The case was investigated by the CBI; the Gujarat High Court in 2011 acquitted all the accused and critcised the way the probe had ben conducted.

Vithal Pandya, Haren's father and now deceased, had contested the parliamentary election from Gandhinagar against the BJP's L K Advani.

Haren Pandya himself had been minister of state for home in the BJP government of Keshubhai Patel, who was then in the BJP.

The BJP has fielded Rakesh Shah from the seat. The Congress is yet to announce its candidate.

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