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RSS chief on 3-day visit to Gujarat amid rift in BJP over poll candidates

Protests continue over union minister Purushottam Rupala’s candidature in Rajkot.

Mohan BhagwatAHMEDABAD: Amid dissidence in the BJP over candidature for many Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat visited Vadodara on Saturday as part of his three-day tour to the state. According to RSS office-bearers, Bhagwat held interactive sessions with intellectuals in Vadodara and Bharuch on Saturday.

His visit to Vadodara holds significance as the discord within the BJP first surfaced in the city over poll ticket. Ranjan Bhatt’s candidature for Vadodara seat triggered protests, with Jyoti Pandya, vice president of BJP’s Rashtriya Mahila Morcha, resigning in protest. After Pandya’s resignation, Bhatt withdrew her candidacy, prompting the BJP to announce Hemang Joshi as the new candidate.

Even Joshi’s nomination sparked discontent. A recent video showed BJP MLA Yogesh Patel declining to wear the BJP scarf presented by Joshi, indicating an ongoing tension.

Protests continue over union minister Purushottam Rupala’s candidature in Rajkot. Rupala’s alleged derogatory remarks on Kshatriya community intensified protests against him and clamour grew for his replacement. Despite Rupala’s apology, women from the Kshatriya community have threatened self-immolation if he remains the BJP candidate.

The BJP is also facing dissidence over nominations for Bharuch, Valsad and Sabarkantha Lok Sabha seats. “Bhagwat’s visit comes at a crucial juncture, particularly amid rising tensions within the Gujarat BJP, fuelled by factionalism in many constituencies,” said an RSS leader.

“The visit is anticipated to provide Bhagwat with an opportunity to engage with key stakeholders and address the growing discontent within the BJP’s ranks,” he said.

On Sunday, Bhagwat plans to visit Dutt Mandir at Garudeshwar and the hold another session with intellectuals in Vadodara. Later in the day, he will head to Ahmedabad for an overnight stay, and leave the state on Monday.

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