Gujarat BJP president CR Paatil had earlier announced that those who have won civic body elections thrice, or are more than 60 years of age or are family members of elected leaders will not be considered for allocation of party tickets for elections to six municipal corporations.
Of the 72 candidates announced by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for elections to Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC), at least seven come from families whose members are sitting corporators or former corporators. However, party leaders maintained that they have taken “utmost care” to adhere to the criteria laid down by Gujarat BJP president CR Paatil.
Similar is the case in Jamnagar and Bhavnagar municipal corporations also.
Paatil had announced that those who have won civic body elections thrice, or are more than 60 years of age or are family members of elected leaders will not be considered for allocation of party tickets for elections to six municipal corporations.
However, the list of candidates declared by the party does contain a few dynasts.
When asked about this, BJP spokesperson Yamal Vyas said, “There is a difference. If his son has worked as a party worker, he (the father) can’t become a liability… We have not given ticket to family members of sitting corporators but if someone has served in the past, it should not hinder his or her progress.”
However, when pointed out that list suggested otherwise, Vyas said, “I am not aware about specific cases but we are taking utmost care to adhere to criteria”.
The list of dynasts in Rajkot is led by Nehal Shukla, the candidate for Ward No. 7. Nehal is the younger brother of sitting corporator Nitin Shukla. Nitin has been denied a ticket to seek a fourth term. Nehal is also general secretary of the BJP Yuva Morcha, the party’s youth wing, and member of the syndicate of Saurashtra University. The Shuklas are sons of former Rajya Sabha member Chiman Shukla.
Son of former Porbandar MP Haribhai Patel, Pushkar Patel has got a ticket to seek re-election for the second time. He had won RMC elections in 2010 and 2015 and had also served as the chairman of the standing committee of the RMC from 2016 to mid-2018. His mother Manjula had won RMC polls in 1995 and was elected Rajkot mayor in 1999.
Vinu Dhava, brother of former RMC corporator Hari Dhava, has been fielded from Ward No. 17, the stronghold of the Dhava family. Vinu was the deputy mayor of Rajkot from mid-2013 to 2015. Hari had won RMC election in 1995 but had died in office. In the consequent by-election, the BJP had fielded his wife Kanta who had also won.
Jayaben Dangar, who is seeking her second term as RMC corporator, is the wife of Haribhai, a BJP corporator from 2010 to 2015.
Aplesh Morjariya, a medical practitioner contesting from Ward No. 1 is husband of Anjana Morjariya, the sitting BJP corporator from that ward. Anjana, a BJP Mahila Morcha worker, has also served as chairman of the secondary education committee of the RMC.
Another candidate who comes from the family of former coporators is Nitin Ramani. Nitin’s wife Kailash Ramani, was a BJP corporator from 2010 to 2015 but had died in office. He defected to the Congress after being denied ticket by the BJP and won the 2015 elections to the RMC. However, he resigned from Congress in 2018, rejoined BJP and was elected to RMC on a BJP ticket.
Kusum Tekwani, the BJP candidate for Ward No. 3, is the wife of Sunil Tekwani who had unsuccessfully contested the 2015 election.
In Jamnagar, the list of dynasts is led by Parth Jethava, son of outgoing mayor Hasmukh Jethva. Hasmukh has won Jamnagar Municipal Corporation (JMC) election for five consecutive times from 1995. “I was not eligible as per the criteria decided by the party… The parliamentary board of BJP allocated election ticket to my son and I respect that,” Hasmukh, an advocate who also runs private tuition classes in Jamngar said.
Parth, 25, who assists his father in running the coaching institute, will be contesting his maiden election.
Six other candidates who have been allotted tickets from Jamnagar are family members of sitting corporators.
In Bhavnagar , family members of four sitting corporators have been given tickets to contest the polls. They are DD Gohil’s wife Leela, Anil Trivedi’ wife Bhavna, Geeta Vaja’s husband Mahesh and Yogita Pandya’s son Kuldeep.
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