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Gujarat polls: BJP suspends 12 rebels fighting as independents

Ahmedabad: Cracking the whip, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat on Tuesday suspended 12 party leaders, including 6-term MLA Madhu Shrivastav and two former legislators, for filing nominations as independent candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections after they were denied tickets.

The development came days after seven BJP leaders were suspended for filing nominations as independent candidates for the first phase of Assembly polls to be held on December 1.

Now, 12 more leaders, who are contesting against official candidates in Assembly seats that will go to polls in the second phase on December 5, have been suspended by Gujarat BJP president CR Paatil, said a release by the state unit of the party.

Notably, November 21 was the last date to withdraw nominations for the 93 seats that will vote in the second phase. None of the BJP rebels opted out of the poll race, inviting disciplinary action from the party.

These leaders, who will now fight against BJP candidates on 11 seats of north and central Gujarat, include sitting MLA of Vaghodia (Vadodara district) Madhu Shrivastav.

Former MLA of Padra, Dinu Patel and ex-MLA of Bayad, Dhavalsinh Zala, were also among the 12 who were punished by the party.

Others include Kuldipsinh Raul (Savli), Khatubhai Pagi (Shehra), SM Khant (Lunawada), JP Patel (Lunawada), Ramesh Zala (Umreth), Amarshi Zala (Khambhat), Ramsinh Thakor (Kheralu), Mavji Desai (Dhanera) and Lebji Thakor (Deesa constituency).

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