Gujarat OBC leader Shankar Chaudhary is BJP’s pick for speaker

Dec 16, 2022 08:55 AM IST

The BJP’s nominees for Gujarat assembly speaker and deputy speaker’s posts, Shankar Chaudhary, and Jetha Bharwad, respectively, are influential OBC leaders in the state

Gujarat’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday named Banas Dairy chairman Shankar Chaudhary, 72, a powerful OBC leader, as its candidate for the speaker’s post of the newly elected state assembly.

Shankar Chaudhary, who has been named BJP’s nominee for the Gujarat speaker’s post, represents Tharad assembly seat (Twitter/ChaudhryShankar)
Shankar Chaudhary, who has been named BJP’s nominee for the Gujarat speaker’s post, represents Tharad assembly seat (Twitter/ChaudhryShankar)

The party has also named Jetha Bharwad alias Ahir, chairman of Panchmahal Dairy, as its deputy speaker nominee.Bharwad, also an OBC leader, is a six-time legislator from the Shehra assembly segment in Panchmahal district. He served as deputy speaker for a year between 2021 and 2022.

Elections to the speaker and deputy speaker’s posts will be held on December 20 when the new assembly meets for the first time, an official notification issued by the assembly secretariat said

The BJP candidates for the two posts are expected to be elected unopposed due to the party’s overwhelming majority in the assembly.

In the recently held elections, the BJP retained power by winning 156 out of the total 182 seats, while the Congress bagged only 17 seats. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ended up with five seats and the Samajwadi Party won one. The remaining three seats went to independent candidates.

Chaudhary, a former health minister who belongs to the influential community of the OBC that have a strong presence in 25 seats, won from Tharad constituency in North Gujarat.

Chief minister Bhupendra Patel was sworn in on December 12 along with 16 ministers of which seven belong to the OBC community.

Shankar Chaudhary was the health minister in the Anandiben Patel-led BJP government. He lost the 2017 elections from Vaav seat but his importance continued as he headed the Banas Dairy.

Of the 32 seats in the north Gujarat region, 22 were won by BJP and eight by the Congress. Two seats went to independent candidates. In 2017, BJP won 14 seats and Congress 17 seats in north Gujarat.

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