Alleging his party was not acting against anti-party activities, suspended Congress MLA from Jamnagar (north), Dharmendrasinh Jadeja is all set to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the presence of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani at an event to be organised by him in Jamnagar on Wednesday.
Jadeja, a first-time MLA, had cross-voted at the Rajya Sabha election earlier this month and had publicly said he would join the BJP. He had then claimed that office-bearers of Congress party were not listening to MLAs. On Tuesday, he told The Indian Express that Congress did not heed his pleas to take action against elements which were working against the party.
“There were people within Congress who were actually working for the BJP in my constituency. I had repeatedly complained to party leaders about this and sought action against them but to no avail. I can fight with those who
are against me but not with those who claim to be on my side but actually fight for the enemy,” said the 44-year-old politician.
A day after he voted in favour of the BJP at the Rajya Sabha, Jadeja was expelled from Congress along with seven other Congress MLAs on August 9. On Wednesday, he had called a sammelan of his supporters at Oswal Centre in
Jamnagar city and is all set to join the BJP in the presence of CM Vijay Rupani and Minister of State for Home, Pradeepsinh Jadeja.
Asked what type of political future does he see for himself and if the BJP would give him ticket to contest Assembly election due couple of months later, Jadeja said, “A ticket to contest the Assembly election is not a
precondition of my joining the BJP. If the party fields me, I shall contest, if it doesn’t, I think I shall be able able to serve the people even then.”
Jadeja and his wife Prafulaba are promoters of Raviraj Infraproject Pvt Limited, a firm which has business interest in mining, transportation etc. In his affidavit filed during 2012 Assembly election, Jadeja had declared assets worth around Rs 12 crore. A native of Khambhaliya taluka in Devbhoomi Dwarka district, Jadeja had joined the Congress around 20 years ago and risen through party ranks to earn a ticket in the 2012 election. In his maiden Assembly poll, he proved a giant-killer by defeating BJP heavy-weight Mulu Bera from Jamnagar (north) by around 10,000 votes.
When asked if his constituents will accept after he changed his allegiance, Jadeja said, “An election is wrestling match. Rivals remain confidence of their victories. But the public is the supreme. I am a politician who believes in drawing his line longer than truncating other’s. Therefore, I never attacked BJP but focused on serving the people. Therefore, I am confident that people are still with me. Before voting for the BJP, I had spent a month meeting my constituents and they were positive. I have organised Wednesday’s event in my personal capacity. The turnout at the event will make picture clearer.”
Along with Jadeja, two other Congress MLAs from Saurashtra— Raghavji Patel of Jamnagar (rural) and Bhola Gohil from Jasdan seat in Rajkot district— had voted for the BJP at the Rajya Sabha election and were subsequently expelled from the party. Sources said that Patel will organise a similar event in his constituency on September 1 to formally join the BJP camp. Sources also claimed that a few Congress corporators from Jamnagar Municipal Corporation were also likely to join BJP along with Jadeja on Wednesday.
Local BJP leaders welcomed the development. “BJP would have defeated Jadeja where he contested 2017 Assembly as a Congress candidate. Now that he is joining the BJP, party leaders will decide who shall contest from this
seat. But he would bring along his supporters and that will strengthen position of the BJP in constituency,” said Hasmukh Hindocha, president of Jamnagar city unit of the BJP.
However, Congress said Jadeja’s departure will be to its advantage. “Electors of this constituency have been loyal to Congress. The 2012 victory was a victory of Congress and not of Jadeja as an individual. But now that he is joining the rival party, it will only strengthen Congress as his opponents will become active. On the other hand, it is also likely to upset some BJP worker who will join Congress,” said PC Khetiya, president of Jamnagar city unit of Congress.