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March 2019
3:47 AM IST
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Shah replaces BJP patriarch Advani as candidate in Gandhinagar
 
Ahmedabad: For BJP patriarch L K Advani, it appears to be the end of road in electoral politics as his name did not figure in the first list of party candidates for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP chose to field its president Amit Shah from Gandhinagar, the seat held by Advani so far. Naranpura, from where Shah had won the Assembly election in 2012 before he became Rajya Sabha member, is located in Ahmedabad city, but falls in Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency.

The BJP''s state unit had demanded that either Prime Minister Narendra Modi or Shah should contest Lok Sabha election from the state this time. State BJP leaders had also demanded that Shah contest from Gandhinagar, a BJP bastion. The BJP had sent observers on March 16 to seek opinion of party workers and leaders in Gandhinagar, and most of them favoured Shah, party observer Nimaben Acharya had said. Workers felt that as the seat had been held by a national leader (Advani), someone among the party''s central leadership should contest from there, another party observer Prithviraj Patel had said.

"Neither has the party approached him nor has he approached the party so far," Advani''s personal secretary Deepak Chopra told PTI when asked if the BJP had urged Advani to contest from Gandhinagar yet again. Advani, 91, who has served as Union home minister and deputy prime minister, has won from Gandhinagar six times. Credited for orchestrating the BJP''s rise to a pre-eminent position in the late 80s and 90s along with Atal Bihari Vajpayee after it won only two Lok Sabha seats in 1984.

Advani was moved out of the BJP''s highest decision-making body, Parliamentary Board, in 2014 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the party to victory and Shah was made its president. He was made a member of Margdarshak Mandal (group of mentors), a body which has never met. He did not make any representation to stake claim for Gandhinagar seat before the BJP observers. The BJP veteran won from Gandhinagar for the first time in 1991, and retained the constituency in 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014. In 1996 he did not contest, citing the Babri Masjid demolition case against him.


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