A total of 371 candidates are in the fray for the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat, all of which will go to polls in a single phase on April 23. A official release from the state's Chief Electoral Officer informed that out of the total 572 nominations received for the 26 seats, 120 nominations were rejected after scrutiny, leaving 452 candidates in the fray.
After 81 candidates withdrew their nominations on Monday, 371 candidates are now left in the fray, it said. The maximum number of candidates, 31, are contesting from Surendranagar, followed by 28 in Jamnagar, 26 in Ahmedabad East and 25 in Navsari, it said.
Panchmahal, with six candidates, Kheda and Dahod with seven each, Chhota Udepur with eight and Valsad with nine candidates are the ones with the lowest number of contestants. While Gujarat traditionally has seen straight fights between the BJP and the Congress, several smaller parties too are in the running this time.
All 26 seats from the state were won by the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. It has dropped 10 sitting MPs for the April-May general polls.
The seats where sitting BJP MPs have been replaced are Banaskantha, Patan, Mehsana, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad East, Surendranagar, Porbandar, Anand, Panchmahal and Chhota Udepur. In Gandhinagar, BJP patriarch LK Advani has been replaced with party chief Amit Shah, who will take on Congress MLA CJ Chavda and 15 other contestants.
The newly formed Hindusthan Nirman Dal of former VHP leader Pravin Togadia has also fielded its candidate, Amrish Patel, from the Gandhinagar seat. The battle for Bharuch seat is primarily between sitting BJP MP Mansukh Vasava and the Congress' Sher Khan Pathan, though the nomination of tribal leader and Bharatiya Tribal Party MLA Chhotu Vasava has changed equations..
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