Turmoil in Gujarat Congress after first list for candidates

Scuffle, demonstrations and a series of resignations were the order of the day in Gujarat Congress.

Ahmedabad: Scuffle, demonstrations and a series of resignations were the order of the day in Gujarat Congress as those left out from the first list of 52 candidates for the assembly polls expressed their disappointment and anger.

As state party leaders camped in New Delhi for finalisation of the full list of nominees for the first phase, four Dalit leaders, who were also office-bearers, tendered thier resignations to protest candidature of Shailesh Parmar from Danilimda (SC) seat in Ahmedabad district.

Girish Parmar, Jayanti Parmar, Gunvant Solanki and Khemchand Solanki resigned from the posts of vice president, Gujarat Congress, spokesperson, general secretary and vice president of Ahmedabad City Congress, respectively.

"We all have submitted our resignations to protest the decision to field Shailesh Parmar," said Jayanti Parmar.

Supporters of Congress ticket aspirants from Kalol constituency, Praful Talsania and Kanti Thakor, were unhappy over the selection of Baldevji Thakor from the seat and demanded that party high command reconsider its decision.

They entered the Gujarat Congress headquarters here and started shouting slogans against Thakor, who they claimed was an "outsider" to the constituency. A minor scuffle broke out between them and other Congress workers when they were asked to go out of the office and protest.

"Candidature of Baldev Thakor, who is an outsider, has been imposed on us by the party. We are opposing this and asking the party high command to change the decision," said Talsania. "Ticket should be given to a local candidate if the party wants to win the Kalol seat."

Election to the 182-member Gujarat Assembly will be held on December 13 and 17 and Congress last night declared 22 candidates for the first phase and 30 for the second.

The main Opposition party had declared another list of 46 candidates, but it was withdrawn after two hours.

Announcement of the partial list of candidates for the first phase of the poll has brought the internal turmoil in Gujarat Congress to the fore. Several party office-bearers have tendered resignation over selection of candidates.

Demonstrations by rival factions were held in Mangrol and Amreli district Congress offices also.

Similarly, anger and discontent prevail among Congress leaders and workers in Surat, Junagadh, Amreli, Sabarkantha and Surendranagar districts, party sources said.

Demonstrations were held in most of these cities.

In Junagadh, 24 Congress Councillors threatened to tender their resignations if poll ticket is denied to Girish Kotecha, a local leader. City Congress and Mahila Congress Presidents also joined the chorus.

In Jamnagar, Poonam Madam, daughter of four-time Independent MLA from Jamkhambhalia and niece of Congress MP from the port town, Vikram Madam, left the Congress and joined ruling BJP today.

In Surat district`s Mangrol, street protest broke out against Tejas Chaudhary, brother of Congress MP Tushar Chaudhary, who is widely tipped to get poll ticket.

Supporters of Jagat Vasava, a Congress ticket aspirant from Mangrol, took to the streets and burnt an effigy of Tushar Chaudhary.

Police have detained five protesters.


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