In a move that surprised many, BJP MLA from Godhra CK Raulji told the Gujarat Assembly on Wednesday that he will remain in the party and will not be joining the Congress or voting for their candidates in the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls.
Raulji, who was the first to speak on the budgetary demands in a House where mostly BJP members were present, addressed Speaker Rajendra Trivedi saying, “I am seeking your protection. When entering the assembly premises, media persons cannot force me (to give a response). They also came my house, where I refused to give a byte. I told them that I will make the matters clear in the Assembly… We have jumped (from one party to another) in the past. But when I joined the BJP, I had told before a gathering of 25,000 that I have jumped many times. These jumps happened as public works were not getting done. There were no selfish reasons… I have already told Chief Minister (Vijay Rupani), Jitu Vaghani (state BJP president) and 25,000 people of my constituency that my last jump will be towards a crematorium. I am not going to take another (political) jump and I appeal to others not to bother me till the (Rajya Sabha) polls on March 26.”
The MLA pointed out that a news report in a vernacular daily linking him with Shankersinh Vaghela (currently with the NCP) and the Congress party, was baseless. “I am happy to say that in the past two years, works worth Rs 662 crore were implemented in my constituency,” he said narrating the irrigation, roads and bridges that were allocated after he joined the BJP in 2017.
Comparing Congress to a “sick unit”, Raulji said, “No employee would like to join a sick unit… I want to once again clarify that I am not going to the Congress. I am not going to vote for the Congress. I am with the BJP and will stay here. The respect that I have got in BJP, I have not got the same in any political party in the past…” He added that he was the minister for civil supplies and water supplies in Chimanbhai Patel’s government, held independent portfolio of transportation in the past governments and was also a cabinet minister.
Raulji began his political career as a Janata Dal candidate, winning the assembly polls in 1990. He joined the BJP in 1991 and won the assembly bypoll to retain his seat. A staunch loyalist of Shankersinh Vaghela who was with the BJP during that period, Raulji continued to stick with Vaghela when the latter severed ties with the BJP and floated the Rashtriya Janata Party (RJP) in 1995. Raulji joined the Congress when the RJP merged with it later. He later won assembly elections in 2007 and 2012 as a Congress candidate.
Just before the Rajya Sabha elections in 2017, when veteran Congress leader Ahmed Patel was seeking re-election, Raulji was among the Congress MLAs who quit along with Shankersinh Vaghela. Raulji later joined the BJP and contested the assembly elections in December 2017, where he managed to scrape through with a victory margin of just 258 votes from Godhra.
“I have no expectations. However, I have to clarify on the issue of unfullfilment of expectations,” the MLA said when the Speaker asked him to speak on the budgetary demands. “I request the high command that members senior to me might have expectations related to work or otherwise, (that needs to be taken care of) or else we might meet the same fate as the Congress,” he remarked.
Raulji who was allotted six minutes to speak sought permission of the Speaker to be given additional time to speak on the budgetary demands as he had spoken over seven minutes about Rajya Sabha polls.
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