Congress fields NRI, Vaghela’s son in Gujarat poll


Ahmedabad : C.K. Patel, a US-based hotelier, and Mahendrasinh Vaghela, son of Textile Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela, will contest the Gujarat assembly polls next month on a Congress ticket.

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Patel, executive director of the National Federation of Indo-Americans, will contest from the Himmatnagar constituency, about 70 km from Ahmedabad and close to his native place of Vaghasi.

He was largely instrumental in organizing Indian American astronaut Sunita Williams’ India visit in September.

Patel operates a number of hotels in California and has been associated with several diaspora organisations.

In Gujarat, he is associated with voluntary agencies like Asha, Manav Kalyan Trust and the Gandhi Leprosy Foundation and has organised medical camps in Sabarkantha district.

Mahendrasinh Vaghela is the Congress candidate for Meghraj in Sabarkantha district of north Gujarat.

Patel and Vaghela are among the 24 candidates whose names were released by the party late Monday night for the second phase of elections, voting for which will take place Dec 16.

With this the Congress has so far announced nominations for 74 out of 95 seats of the second phase.

Meanwhile, as the withdrawal of nominations for the first phase of elections, on Dec 11 and covering 87 seats, came to an end Monday evening, a total of 669 candidates are left in the fray. The first phase covers Saurashtra, Kutch and south Gujarat.

While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is contesting all 87 seats, the Congress is contesting 82 seats. It has given four seats to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and one seat to the Communist party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).