Congress pits new face against Gujarat home minister


Ahmedabad : The Congress party has chosen to field a new face, Sashikant Patel, to take on Gujarat’s Minister of State for Home Amit Shah from Sarkhej constituency in Ahmedabad in the assembly elections next month.

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In the December 2002 polls, Shah secured 158,036 votes while Himanshu Patel of Congress could manage 130,291 votes.

Shah, said to be a confidant of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, came under criticism earlier this year when the Gujarat police faced flak from the Supreme Court for killing an innocent Muslim, Sohrabuddin Sheikh, in a stage-managed shootout here in 2005.

Shashikant Patel’s name was included in the list the Congress released Tuesday night. With that list, the party has announced nominees for 80 of the 95 seats of the second phase, for which voting will be held Dec 16.

On the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) front, the wait was over for assembly Speaker Mangaldas Patel, who has been given the party ticket to contest from the Mansa constituency in north Gujarat.

The Congress party faced protests from some of its leaders who have been denied the party tickets. A group of irate ticket-seekers and their supporters indulged in vandalism at the party headquarters here, breaking chairs, windowpanes and fans.

No senior leader was present at the office, which further enraged the crowd, who had come make a representation.