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BJP announces 3 more LS candidates for Gujarat; Union minister among 3 MPs benched

twitter-logoPTI | March 27, 2019 | Updated 20:22 IST

Ahmedabad/New Delhi, Mar 27 (PTI) The BJP Wednesday announced three more Lok Sabha candidates for Gujarat, dropping a Union minister and two other sitting MPs and bringing in fresh faces. With Wednesday's announcement, the party has declared more than 350 candidates so far for the seven-phase Lok Sabha polls starting from April 11. The party has denied tickets to its veterans, including Murli Manohar Joshi, L K Advani, Shanta Kumar, B C Khanduri and Kalraj Mishra, apparently on the grounds of their age and grooming younger leaders in their place. The BJP has so far announced candidates for 19 out of 26 constituencies in Gujarat. The state will go to polls on April 23, in the third phase of the April-May parliamentary elections. It has dropped Union Minister of State for Coal and Mines Haribhai Chaudhary, who is an MP from Banaskantha in north Gujarat, along with Porbandar MP Vitthal Radadia and Prabhatsinh Chauhan, MP from Panchmahal in south Gujarat. In Banaskantha, the BJP's nominee is Parbat Patel, Minister of State for Water Supply in the Gujarat government. Businessman and BJP worker Ramesh Dhadhuk has been given the ticket from Porbandar. Ratan Singh, who was elected as independent MLA from Lunawada in 2017 and later joined the BJP, has been fielded from Panchmahal. The party has denied tickets to five sitting MPs in Gujarat, including L K Advani from Gandhinagar and Devji Fatehpara from Surendranagar. Gujarat BJP chief Jitu Vaghani said the candidates were selected after a due process. "Vitthal Radadia is not keeping well, while Prabhatsinh's age was a factor," Vaghani said. Party president Amit Shah, currently a Rajya Sabha member, will be contesting from Gandhinagar. The party has repeated 14 Lok Sabha MPs in Gujarat as per the ticket announcements so far. Asked if he was unhappy with the decision to deny him ticket, Haribhai Chaudhary said, "The party has given me many opportunities. I have been MP four times, I have been a minister in the central government. I will work hard to make BJP candidate win from here." The Congress has so far declared six candidates in the state. Notification for elections in the third phase (April 23) will be issued by the Election Commission on Thursday after which candidates can file nomination forms. The last date for filing of nominations in Gujarat is April 4. In 2014, the BJP had won all the 26 seats in the state. PTI PD KRK JTR IJT

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