The Congress has fielded a woman candidate and the BJP the young son of its deceased sitting member, to contest the by-elections to the Gujarat Assembly from Chotila constituency in Surendranagar district.

Both Nirantben Dhoriya (Congress) and Bharat Khorani (BJP) filed their nomination papers on Saturday, the last day for doing so .

The by-election scheduled to be held on January 20 was necessitated by the death last month of Vashrambhai Khorani. This will be the second by-election for the seat since the December 2007 elections to the State Assembly.

Both parties have ignored the claims of seasoned local politicians for tickets and have fielded totally new faces who have never contested Assembly elections in the past.

Ms. Dhoriya is the president of the Sayla taluka panchayat .

Though the outcome would make no difference in the power balance in the State, it will be a matter of prestige for the Congress as Chotila was considered the party’s traditional stronghold until it lost the seat to Mr. Vashrambhai Khorani who was elected in a by-election last year following the death of the sitting Congress member.