The AAP may have officially declared candidates for just two seats in Ahmedabad and overall 30 in Gujarat but that hasn’t prevented many of its cadre from plunging into the electoral battle.In fact, many of them after failing to get mandate from the party are contesting as independents. If the party workers are to be believed they also have the backing of the party for their independent candidature.Take the case of Himanshu Shah who is fighting as an independent from Naranpura, a seat traditionally believed to be a BJP bastion.Shah whose symbol is a gas cylinder said they had hoped to get a mandate from the AAP. “But for some reason, the party did not give us the mandate. But it has not prevented us from fighting as an independent too,” said Shah, who runs a fabrication business.He has been associated with the party for the last three years.”Around 250 workers many of whom are also associated with the AAP will be helping me in my campaign,” said Shah who contested as an independent in 2012 and got 1,500 votes.”This time I am confident of getting the votes of my community. Moreover I have the support of AAP too,” said Shah.The others who are associated with the AAP but are contesting as independents include Rina Barot from Vejalpur, Aftab Saiyad from Jamalpur-Khadia, Alpesh Solanki from Asarwa and Yogesh Patel from Ghatlodia. Barot is the wife of AAP’s former Ahmedabad unit president Nitin Barot.Saiyad who is contesting from Jamalpur said the party had promised to give him a ticket. “I waited till the last moment but in the end the party decided not to contest the elections. I had been working for long and had also built the organisational support in the area and so it was not feasible for me to back down and leave my supporters in the lurch,” said Saiyad.He said he talked to AAP’s Gujarat co-ordinator and in-charge Gopal Rai before contesting as an independent. “The party was fine with it,” said Saiyad.AAP spokesperson Harshil Nayak said party workers are free to contest as an independent as long as they are not contesting in seats where the party has announced its candidates.”In all the cases were workers have stood as independents, AAP has not announced a candidate. The party can’t stop anyone from contesting as independent,” said Nayak.
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Yogi Adityanath


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Gujarat elections 2017: Unable to get party mandate, many AAP workers contest as independents