Mahendrasinh Vaghela, son of former Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela, joined the BJP on Saturday in the presence of Gujarat deputy chief minister Nitin Patel, BJP Gujarat chief Jitu Vaghani and others in Gandhinagar.
Mahendrasinh is a former Congress MLA who quit the party last year in a rebellion led by his father, ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections where Congress top leader Ahmed Patel was seeking re-election to the upper house.
On his joining BJP, Mahendrasinh said Saturday, “I am ready for any kind of responsibility. As for the question of my father joining BJP or not only he will know.”
Last year 13 MLAs quit the Congress led by Vaghela who announced his quitting on his 77th birthday in July. This exit brought the number of Congress MLAs down to 43 in the Gujarat Assembly, leading to a situation making Patel’s win difficult. Vaghela quit after the presidential election where Congress MLAs were suspected to have cross-voted. One of them Balwantsinh Rajput was fielded by BJP for the Rajya Sabha but he lost to Ahmed Patel.
However, the Congress retained most of the seats in the House even after the exit. The seats of Vaghela’s Kapadvanj, Amul Chairman Ramsinh Parmar’s Thasra, Mansinh Chauhan’s Balasinor, Amit Chaudhary’s Mansa, Balwantsinh Rajput’s Sidhpur, Mahendrasinh Vaghela’s Bayad, Bhola Gohel’s Jasdan, Tejeshree Patel’s Viramgam, Raghavji Patel’s Jamnagar Rural, were retained by the Congress.
Vaghela launched the Jan Vikalp party which also contested in the Assembly elections, but could not make a mark.