A day after his resignation, former Congress MLA Jitubhai Chaudhary released a video on Friday claiming that he took the decision after the party took no action against former MP Kishan Patel, who allegedly “worked against him the last Lok Sabha elections”.
In a 1.36-minute video, Chaudhary is heard saying, “I wanted to give clarification about my resignation. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, former president of Valsad Congress committee and ex-MP Kishan Patel worked against the party and on the day of polling, he got a press statement published in the vernacular newspapers inciting our community against me. I complained about his act to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Gujarat incharge, Rajiv Satav. Even after a year, no action has been taken against him. Hence I resigned. I have been working with the people of my constituency in good and bad times. Congress party has also given me ticket four times (for the Assembly elections) and once for parliamentary election. When Kishanbhai ( Kishan Patel) earlier fought Lok Sabha elections, we also worked hard for him and but he did not do the same in my case.”
Chaudhary, however, could not be reached for comments.
Former MP from Valsad seat Kishan Patel denied the allegations, saying, “If he has any evidence against me he should show it. After the results were announced, it has been found that he got 32,000 votes less in his own Kaprada constituency, while in other areas we had given a tough fight to BJP. I have no grudges against him. We were good friends.”
Chaudhary, four-time MLA from the reserved seat of Kaprada in Valsad, and Akshay Patel, first-time MLA from Vadodara’s Karjan, had handed their resignations to Speaker Rajendra Trivedi Thursday, days before the elections for 18 Rajya Sabha seats in the state.
Several political observers said that Chaudhary is eyeing a ticket for the next parliamentary elections like BJP MP Prabhu Vasava from Bardoli in Surat district – who left Congress when he was MLA from Mandvi in 2012 and joined BJP. BJP had given him ticket from the Bardoli seat, from where he won the last two Lok Sabha elections.
The Valsad Lok Sabha seat has 15.12 lakh registered voters out of which majority of them – 4.86 lakhs — are from Dhodia community, followed by Warli and Kukna and tribes with 2.63 lakh and 2.16 lakh voters respectively. While Jitubhai Chaudhary belongs to Kokna community, Kishan Patel belongs to Dodhia community. The Kaprada constituency has dominance of both Dhodia and Kukna community voters. Senior Congress leader of Valsad district Gaurav Pandya said that Chaudhary was planning to join BJP.
“The backbone behind victory of Chaudhary was his cousin and Congress leader Babanbhai Chaudhary, who had good influence on the entire community. He passed away in 2016. In the 2012 Assembly polls, Chaudhary won from Kaprada with a margin of 18,685 votes and in the 2017 elections, he won with a margin of 170 votes. He realized that his acceptance among the people of his constituency is going down. He had taken a step to get himself safe. He is power-hungry person and I am sure that he will join BJP,” he said.
Senior BJP leader of Valsad Madhubhai Raut, who lost to Chaudhary in 2017 and 2007 elections from Kaprada, said the four-time MLA may be planning to contest the next Lok Sabha polls on a BJP ticket. “He might have kept in mind the next Lok Sabha elections. This might be the last term for BJP MP from Valsad seat, K C Patel, who is growing older. There is no other strong tribal leader in the district with BJP. We assume that he (Chaudhary) will join BJP in coming days.”
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