Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Prakash Patel on Wednesday announced his decision to contest the bypoll to Kaprada seat in South Gujarat as an independent, paving way for a triangular fight in the constituency where BJP and Congress have already decided on candidates.
Patel, former Valsad district panchayat president of BJP, is the brother-in-law of Mohan Delkar, independent MP from Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and son of Kaprada taluka panchayat BJP vice-president Shankerlal Patel.
The by-elections to the eight assembly seats are scheduled to be held on November 3. Among seats to go for bypolls are Dangs and Kaprada, which fell vacant after the resignation of Congress MLAs Mangal Gavit and Jitu Chaudhary respectively, ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections in June. Chaudhary joined the BJP later.
The BJP has already declared Jitu Chaudhary as its candidate in Kaprada, while the Congress has chosen Babubhai Wardha who quit BJP and joined the Congress on August 10. Vardha is a leader of Warli community, which dominates the assembly seat. He was also the former vice-president of BJP in Kaprada taluka.
Prakash Patel who left the BJP in 2017 was also the education committee chairman of Valsad district panchayat from 2011 to 2015. Talking to The Indian Express, Patel said, “The voters who are confused whom to choose. My candidature as an independent will help them decide as they will get a leader who can resolve their issues. So far Congress voters and BJP voters were committed to their respective candidates. Now the time has changed as former congress MLA is contesting on BJP ticket, while former BJP leader will be contesting on Congress ticket. Voters have understood that both candidates are hungry for power who can switch parties, compromising on their ideologies.”
Patel, who was with the BJP from 2008 to 2017, added, “I don’t know whether my father (Shanker Patel) or my brother-in-law (Mohan Delkar) will help me in this election or not. My decision will not come under any political or family pressure. The Bhartiya Tribal Party, Aam Admi Party and Shankersinh Vaghela’s political party Jan Vikalp Morcha reached out to me to be their candidate on Kaprada seat. I just told them to support me.. I will not contest under any political party banner.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines