Three of Narendra Modi's ministers likely to get Lok Sabha poll tickets

Monday, 20 January 2014 - 1:54pm IST | Place: Gandhinagar | Agency: DNA
Names of Saurabh Patel, Ganpatsinh Vasava & Ramanlal Vora doing the rounds.

Chief minister Narendra Modi is likely to field three of his ministers in the coming Lok Sabha elections, which are seen as a make or break election for the BJP’s prime ministerial nominee.

The move is a part of the party’s strategy to maximise its tally in Gujarat.

State energy minister Saurabh Patel, forest & environment minister Ganpatsinh Vasava and social justice and empowerment minister Ramanlal Vora are likely to be fielded in the general elections.

While the ministers deny such a plan, the buzz goes that Saurabh Patel may be fielded from Bhavnagar parliamentary seat. Patel was elected to the assembly in 2012 from Akota seat in Vadodara. However, prior to that, he was elected twice to the assembly from Botad seat, a part of Bhavnagar seat. BJP insiders say that Modi is not keen on repeating sitting MP Rajendrasinh Rana, and could field his close confidant Patel from Bhavnagar.

Publicly, BJP leaders say they are targeting victory on each of the 26 parliamentary seats in the state. However, they concede in private that the realistic target is 20-21 seats, a significant improvement over the party’s existing tally of 17 nonetheless.

The BJP had won 20 out of 26 seats in Gujarat in the 1998 LS elections, its best ever performance in the state. The target, say party leaders, is to better the tally in 2014. Under Modi’s leadership, BJP had won 14 out of 26 seats in 2004 and 15 out of 26 in 2009.

Forest minister Ganpatsinh Vasava is likely to be pitted against union minister Tushar Chaudhary from Bardoli (ST) seat. The seat was earlier known as Mandvi. Vasava’s appointment as legislative assembly speaker and his subsequent induction in the Modi ministry are believed to have been a part of the CM’s strategy to prepare him to take on Tushar Chaudhary, whose father late Amarsinh Chaudhary was the first tribal chief minister of Gujarat.

Tushar Chaudhary, who had won the Mandvi seat in 2004 with a margin of over 2 lakh votes, which fell to 75,000 votes in 2009 following delimitation, has been working hard to strengthen his base in the tribal region.

However, it is believed that there is a lot of discontent against him, and BJP has a good chance of winning Bardoli seat provided it fields a strong candidate. Vasava denies being aware of BJP’s plans to field him in LS polls, but party insiders say “Vasava is the only tribal leader who can take on Tushar Chaudhary.”

Ramanlal Vora is likely to be fielded from Sabarkantha. Vora is elected to the assembly from Idar, one of the seven constituencies that form Sabarkantha LS seat. Interestingly, in 2012 assembly polls, BJP had suffered losses in all the seats in Sabarkantha, barring Idar. Vora too dismisses the buzz of his contesting Lok Sabha elections. However, as far as the Congress is concerned, insiders say that there is more than one ticket aspirant for Sabarkantha as it is seen as a sure-shot winning proposition in the wake of assembly poll results.

Madhusudan Mistry, now a close advisor to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, is said to be eyeing the seat. He had suffered a narrow loss in 2009 elections. Former CM and leader of opposition Shankarsinh Vaghela is also believed to be an aspirant.

Ramanlal Vora
social justice & empowerment
Vora is elected to the assembly from Idar, one of the seven constituencies that form Sabarkantha LS seat. Interestingly, in 2012 assembly polls, BJP had suffered losses in all the seats in Sabarkantha, barring Idar. He is likely to be fielded from Sabarkantha.

Saurabh Patel
energy & petroleum
Patel was elected to the assembly in 2012 from Akota seat in Vadodara. However, prior to that, he was elected twice to the assembly from Botad seat, a part of Bhavnagar seat. He may be fielded from Bhavnagar parliamentary seat.

Ganpatsinh Vasava
forest & environment
Vasava’s appointment as legislative assembly speaker and his subsequent induction in the Modi ministry are believed to have been a part of the CM’s strategy. Vasava is likely to be pitted against union minister Tushar Chaudhary from Bardoli (ST) seat which was earlier known as Mandvi.


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