The Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP), launched with much fanfare with former chief minister Keshubhai Patel as its president on the eve of the December 2012 Assembly elections, is set to become history following a merger with the BJP on February 26.
GPP was the later avatar of Mahagujarat Janata Party (MJP) which was formed by former BJP minister Gordhan Zadaphia when he walked out of BJP on the eve of 2007 Assembly polls owing to his differences with Narendra Modi.
But, as the saying goes, there are no permanent friends nor foes in politics. GPP leaders have now decided on “ghar vapasi” or homecoming.
Speaking to The Indian Express in his office on Tuesday, Zadaphia, who took over as president of GPP after Keshubhai stepped down two weeks ago due to ill-health, said: “Yes, GPP will merge with BJP most probably on February 26 and the venue will be Bapunagar in Ahmedabad”. Zadaphia, hailing from Bhavnagar, lives in Bapunagar under Rakhial Assembly constituency and had contested his first election from here. He also said that the merger would take place in the presence of the chief minister. Zadaphia said that all GPP workers would also join BJP with him. GPP is reported to have a membership of 1.5 lakh.
Sources close to Zadaphia said that arrangements for the merger function had already begun. Party workers all over the state have been asked to reach the venue in large numbers. GPP leaders expect a huge crowd and are planning to instal flat TV screens to enable the people to watch and listen to the programme.
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Party leaders said the merger could have happened two weeks back but it was delayed to give GPP workers from across the state to attend. A large number of party workers and leaders had quit BJP and joined MJP, and later GPP, due to their proximity with Keshubhai Patel and Zadaphia. Another reason for delay was unavailability of Modi who is busy addressing political rallies across the country.
BJP sources said that 2014 Lok Sabha elections were crucial for BJP as Modi has been declared the party’s prime ministerial candidate. As the party was working to win all 26 Lok Sabha seats, it cannot afford any split of its votes.
BJP general secretary Vijay Rupani, also confirmed the merger on February 26. “This is a positive development,” he said and added, “our doors are open to all subscribing to the party’s ideology”.
He said a pro-BJP atmosphere had been created in Gujarat since Modi’s declaration as PM candidate.