More Than 500 NCP leaders and workers from across Gujarat joined Congress in the presence of state president Bharatsinh Solanki and party’s state affairs in-charge Ashok Gehlot here Sunday. NCP maintained that the members, including former IPS officer B J Gadhvi, state spokesperson Manhar Patel, Rajkot district president Lalit Patodia and Vijapur taluka president Mitesh Patel, defecting to Congress was not going to harm the party.
Welcoming them, Solanki said Congress was open to all those who believed in their ideology of democracy and secularism. “Anti-democratic methods and intimidatory tactics, used by BJP during the recent Rajya Sabha polls, has not only harmed the democracy, but exposed its true face,” he said.
Gehlot, who is also the party general secretary, said NCP had a long political alliance with the Congress in the UPA government at the Centre, but it worked like a “B-team of the BJP” in the RS elections. “It betrayed our trust.”
Gehlot added, “The people of the state are disappointed with the BJP government’s policies and have made up their mind for a political change.”
When contacted, state NCP president and MLA Jayant Patel alias Bosky said they (those who defected) had come from Congress and have now returned to the party. “Patodia was even suspended from the party three months ago. This is not going to harm the party,” Patel said.