Playing it safe by fielding experienced candidates, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday released its first list for 70 out of 182 state assembly seats ahead of elections.
The declaration of the list had preceded several meetings within the party.
The two-phased polls in Gujarat will be held for 89 seats in the Saurashtra-Kutch and South Gujarat regions on December 9 and for 93 seats in Central and North Gujarat regions on 14, respectively. Counting for Gujarat polls will be held on December 18, along with Himachal polls.
Prominent among the names are Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani from Rajkot (West), deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel from Mehsana, state BJP President Jitu Vaghani from Bhavnagar (West) among others. In fact, none of the ministers has been dropped from the first list so far.
Moreover, around five of the Congress turncoats including Raghavji Patel, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, C K Raulji, Mansingh Chauhan and Ramsinh Parmar have made it to the list.
BJP has repeated 49 candidates from the previous polls. The party's bid to placate Patidar votes could be seen from the 16 community members making it to the first list, apart from fielding four women in phase one. For instance, the party replaced Varshaben Doshi by Dhanjibhai Patel (Makson) to upset Hardik Patel's support base. Apparently, Dhanjibhai Patel hails from the same sub-caste of Patidars as Hardik.
To counter Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) co-president Paresh Dhanani from the Amreli seat, BJP has nominated Bavku Unghad as against Dilip Sanghani who was previously defeated by the former.
While candidates for Vadodara (City), Savli and nearby constituencies were declared, a nomination for Akota seat - of former finance minister Saurabhbhai Patel - was unannounced so far.
The second list will be crucial since BJP is in a dilemma to field all the legislators who joined the party from Congress in recent times.