Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani will have to give up his seat to a local party leader in Gandhinagar for the upcoming general elections. The party's high command has made up its mind that neither Advani, nor his children will get a ticket from the constituency; instead, an opportunity will be given to a fresh face with local connect.
"There is no question of giving a ticket to his children Pratibha or Jayant either," said a senior Gujarat BJP leader, "The party is under no compulsion to hand a ticket to anyone; a local leader, who has worked hard, will get the berth."
Advani currently represents the constituency in Lok Sabha, and has been elected from Gandhinagar five times, since 1998.
"There was talk of replacing Advani in the 2014 elections too," says the leader, "but it did not happen. He has hardly visited this constituency after being elected. Many party leaders are expecting the ticket."
There is indication that close confidants of party chief Amit Shah – such as Pruthviraj Patel or Harshad Patel – might get the ticket, but sources say it is too early to speculate.
Gandhinagar is believed to be safe seat for the BJP; though it has fewer supporters in the city, the numbers are made up by areas within Ahmedabad city that falls within the constituency. In 2014, Advani won by a hefty margin of 4.83 lakh votes against Congress' Kirit Patel.
"There is no talk about the Gandhinagar seat yet," said Pruthviraj Patel, "We are currently focussing on increasing organisational strength and formulating a strategy. Shah also said that the constituency is not up for discussion yet."
However, former state chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela, mentioned during the press conference held after he joined the NCP, that Advani has expressed a desire to contest from Gandhinagar when they last met in New Delhi.
- The veteran BJP leader has been elected from Gandhinagar five times since 1998
- There is indication that Pruthviraj Patel or Harshad Patel might get the ticket