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Why BJP old-timers in Gujarat are worried

Source: PTI
March 17, 2009 01:03 IST
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With the Bharatiya Janata Party likely to release the list of its candidates from Gujarat for the Lok Sabha elections on Tuesday, fate of some prominent sitting MPs in the state hangs in balance.

Sitting MPs Kashiram Rana, Harin Pathak, Vallabh Katheria, Jayaben Thakkar and Ratialal Varma are not sure to get re-nomination, sources in the state BJP said.

Gujarat BJP leaders met on Monday to finalise the list of candidates and will go to Delhi on Tuesday to get the nod of the party's top decision-making body, Central Parliamentary Board, after which the names would be released, they said.

Rana, a six-time MP from Surat who had sided with party rebels before the 2007 Assembly elections, is making an all out effort to get the ticket again, the sources said.

However, due to his stand against Chief Minister Narendra Modi during the assembly polls, Rana, who was a minister in the Vajpayee government, is unlikely to get the ticket, they said.

The case of Pathak, also a six-time MP from Ahmedabad, is peculiar. Though he is considered close to BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate L K Advani, he does not share good equation with Modi, the sources said.

"We will have to see if Advani prevails over Modi in getting Harin Pathak the Lok Sabha ticket from Ahmedabad," they said.

Modi might suggest that Pathak could be fielded from Panchmahals, where he would have to contest against formidable Congress candidate, Union Textile Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela, the sources said.

Congress has announced Vaghela's nomination from the seat. Pathak was Minister of State for Home under Advani in the NDA Government.

Varma, a six-time MP from Dhandhuka, is facing another kind of trouble. His seat has been eliminated after the delimitation exercise and he has been eying Ahmedabad (west), now a reserved seat, or Kutch.

The ruling party in the state wants to give tickets to fresh faces, and keeping this in mind, Varma is not likely to be fielded again, the sources said.

Kathiria, a four-time MP from Rajkot, was suspended from the party after he sided with the rebel Keshubhai Patel group before the Assembly elections. His suspension was revoked after he apologised.

"He will not be repeated," the sources said.

Kathiria, a Minister in the NDA Government, said, "I have told the party leadership that whatever decision they take, will be acceptable to me."

Thakkar, a three-time MP from Vadodara, is also not likely to get a nomination this time, they added.

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