Gandhinagar, Nov 23 (UNI) At least 11 BJP rebels have filed their nominations for the first phase of Gujarat elections on December 11 either as independents or as Congress nominees.
In the Congress camp, at least five dissidents have filed their nominations as independents after being denied ticket by the party.
Senior leaders from both the parties are pursuing the rebels to withdraw from the contest before November 26 -- the last day of withdrawal.
According to party sources, as many as four BJP rebels have filed their nominations as independents. Former BJP MLA Chunnibhai Gohil and three sitting MLAs -- Ramesh Mistry (Bharuch), Sunil Oza (Bhavnagar-South) and Kashad Patel (Chikhli) -- who were denied ticket, have filed nominations as independents.
Seven BJP dissidents have filed nomination papers as Congress candidates. The Congress is contesting 82 seats while its ally, the NCP, is contesting four seats and the Communist Party one in the first phase of elections. The constituencies from where BJP rebels will be contesting as Congress candidates include five seats in Amreli and one each in Surat and Choriyasi.
Vithal Radadia, who was instrumental in organising Patidar community meetings against the Modi government, and his son Jayesh filed nominations on Congress ticket from Dhoraji and Rajkot-l constituencies respectively.
Among the Congress rebels, corporator from Olpad (Surat) Dhansukh Rajput, former Chotila MP Shashi Makwana, Chotila taluka president Lalji Mehr, Kaushik Kotadia and former Jamnagar district president Hardas Khava have filed their nominations as independents.
As many as 595 nomination papers were filed for the 87 assembly constituencies for the December 11 poll. However, the exact number of nominees will be known tomorrow since several aspirants have filed multiple sets of nomination papers. A clear picture will emerge only on November 26 -- the last date for withdrawal.
Among the 82 Congress nominees for the first phase of elections, 39 are new faces.
According to reports received from the districts, 74 nomination papers have been filed in Rajkot for 11 seats. In Jamnagar, a total 13 nominations have been filed for eight seats, while for the ten seats in Junagadh, 177 nominations were filed by 132 candidates.