Even as the Gujarat Parivartan Party president Gordhan Zadaphia prepares for a reunion with the BJP through a merger, one prominent member is likely to boycott the event. Jagruti Pandya’s silence and boycott stems from the murder of her husband and former home minister, Haren Pandya, and she is unlikely to be part of the GPP group joining the BJP.
This could be the end of the political road for Jagruti. But the legal struggle, that she has been fighting for 11 long years, is not likely to end. She has now cited loopholes in CBI investigation into the murder case even as late Vithal Pandya, her father-in-law, had till his last breath pointed fingers at Modi. Pandya was shot dead in March 2003 outside Law Garden in Ahmedabad and investigation revealed that extremists group targeted him for 2002 Gujarat riots.
“I will not join the BJP as a part of GPP merger,’’ Jagruti told The Indian Express, adding, “As of now I am not thinking of joining any party and contesting elections. But I will continue to fight the legal battle to get justice.”
In 2012, when former BJP Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel had floated GPP in an act of rebellion against his successor Modi, Jagruti contested from Ellis Bridge constituency, which was represented twice by her husband. She, however, had lost to the BJP candidate Rakesh Shah. Haren Pandya was quite close to Patel, who was unceremoniously removed in 2001 to make way for Modi.
Jagruti, however, maintains that she never intended to make political gain through elections. “I did not join GPP or contest election for any political gain. It was part of the struggle and cause I stand for,” said Pandya, adding, “So far I have pursued my legal battle alone and will continue to do so.”
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Jagruti also maintained that she has never made any allegations against any body and has always raised the technical aspects that the investigation has so far failed to throw light on. The rift between Haren Pandya and Modi appeared when the former denied to vacate his Ellis Bridge seat for Modi who wanted to contest from a safe seat after his induction as CM in October 2001.
Pandya had also reportedly given a statement about Modi’s complicity in the 2002 riots to People’s Tribunal headed by retired SC Judge Krishna Iyer. Following his murder, both Modi and former deputy Prime Minister L K Advani had come under criticism from RSS for sidelining and not providing enough security to Pandya, who was facing a life threat.
Suresh Mehta, former BJP Gujarat Chief Minister, who also had joined GPP in 2012, is believed to have written to party president Gordhan Zadaphia opposing the merger with the BJP. Zadaphia, former home minister and till recently a Modi baiter, had taken over party presidency after former CM Keshubhai Patel stepped down citing ill health. Patel has also resigned as GPP MLA from Visavadar after his son Bharat joined the BJP.
“The decision of merger was taken behind closed door by few people,” said Mehta, adding, “Members were not consulted. Like me, many are not in favour of the merger and are not joining the BJP.’’