Gujarat BJP candidate, sitting MP spar over ticket distribution

Bharat Sutariya and incumbent MP Naran Kachhadia have got into a spat after the latter attributed poor voter turnout in the constituency to the party’s selection of candidate

Published - May 13, 2024 03:09 am IST - Amreli (Gujarat):

BJP nominee for Gujarat's Amreli Lok Sabha seat, Bharat Sutariya, and incumbent MP Naran Kachhadia have got into a spat after the latter attributed poor voter turnout in the constituency to the party’s selection of candidate there.

Mr. Sutariya hit back at Mr. Kachhadia, accusing the MP of “insulting” the BJP’s top leadership and its parliamentary board by questioning his selection.

Of the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat, 25 went to polls in the third phase on May 7 and registered an average voter turnout of 60.13%. Amreli in the Saurashtra region saw the lowest polling at 50.29 per cent. The BJP candidate in Surat has already won unopposed.

In Amreli, the BJP this time dropped three-time MP Mr. Kachhadia and nominated Mr. Sutariya, president of the Amreli district panchayat.

Days after voting, Mr. Kachhadia had addressed party workers at Savarkundla town of Amreli district and expressed his displeasure about being dropped. A controversy erupted after a video of his address went viral on social media.

“The Opposition had nothing, be it workers, leaders, network or power. Still, we struggled against them despite being in power and having an army of workers. There must be a reason behind it. This time, nearly 1.5 lakh fewer votes were polled in Amreli because of lack of enthusiasm among party workers and voters,” Mr. Kachhadia had said.

The BJP MP also claimed that their workers on the ground were not happy because of the “party's decision”.

“I am thankful to the party for nominating me three times in the past… But you betrayed 17.5 lakh voters of Amreli with your selection of candidate this time. There were many eligible leaders who could have been given the ticket. Instead, you selected a common person who can't even speak properly or give an interview,” he had said.

Mr. Sutariya on Sunday slammed Mr. Kachhadia, accusing him of insulting the BJP's top brass and its parliamentary board by questioning his selection.

“Lok Sabha candidates are selected by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, party president J.P. Nadda and BJP's parliamentary board. Thus, you are insulting the BJP's parliamentary board by levelling such allegations,” Mr. Sutariya said in a letter addressed to Mr. Kachhadia and shared with the media.

Mr. Kachhadia had won from Amreli in 2009, 2014 and 2019. In the last elections, he defeated the Congress’ Paresh Dhanani by a margin of about 2 lakh votes. “Through this letter, I want to remind you that I had always thanked you whenever the party gave me any responsibility in the past. You very well know why the party denied you a ticket this time. I hope you will make people aware of that truth,” Mr. Sutariya added.

This time, the Congress gave the ticket to Jenny Thummar, daughter of former Amreli MP Virji Thummar.

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