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Wave of defections: BJP, Cong leaders in south Gujarat ‘make a dent’ in rival camps

Congress’s probable candidate, Rajubhai Vartha said, “We had worked for the BJP for long... The party then decided to field candidate Jitu Chaudhary, against whom we had been fighting for two decades. There is no future in the BJP, so we have joined the Congress."

Written by Kamal Saiyed | Surat | Updated: October 10, 2020 2:38:28 pm
Gujarat bypolls, gujarat assembly elections, gujarat elections, gujarat bypolls, gujarat congress, gujarat bjpGujarat Congress leaders address a virtual rally against the recently enacted farm laws from Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan in Ahmedabad on Friday. (Photo: Nirmal Harindran)

Ahead of bypolls to eight Assembly seats in Gujarat on November 3, the BJP and the Congress are allegedly using tactics to make a dent in their respective rival camps, with a wave of defections being reported in Kaprada and Dangs Assembly seats of south Gujarat.

Among three state BJP functionaries and Cabinet ministers, who have been given the responsibility to ascertain the victory of their candidates, is BJP MLA from Ankleshwar Assembly seat, Ishwarsinh Patel (Minister of State for Sports, Youth and Cultural Activities), who has been given the responsibility of Kaprada seat in Valsad. Similarly, the responsibility of Dangs has been given to BJP MLA from Mangrol Assembly seat, Ganpat Vasava (Minister for Forests, Women and Child Development) and BJP MLA from Bardoli Assembly seat, Ishwar Parmar (Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment). Gujarat BJP general secretary, Bharatsinh Parmar, has also been camping in south Gujarat to supervise campaigning for both seats.

For the Congress, the responsibility of Kaprada seat has been given to former Union Minister Dr Tushar Chaudhary, while the responsibility of Dangs seat has been given to senior Congress leader in Valsad, Gaurav Pandya.

Ascertaining victory on both seats being a hard nut to crack, both political parties have reportedly been making efforts to make a dent in the rival party.

BJP candidate for Kaprada seat and former Congress MLA, Jitu Chaudhary said, “We have made a major dent in the Congress by taking away three members of their Valsad district panchayat and eight taluka panchayat members falling under Kaprada Assembly seat. All these leaders joined (the BJP) with their supporters as they were unhappy with the Congress. They have kept faith in me and BJP leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

“We have the full support of party leaders and state Cabinet minister Ishwarsinh Patel is also helping out. With door-to-door campaigning and hard work, we are also receiving support from the people,” Chaudhary added.

Congress’s probable candidate, Rajubhai Vartha said, “We had worked for the BJP for long… The party then decided to field candidate Jitu Chaudhary, against whom we had been fighting for two decades. There is no future in the BJP, so we have joined the Congress. There are many more BJP workers and leaders from Kaprada seats who will join Congress, once the names of candidates from both parties are officially announced.”

The names of candidates from both political parties for the Dangs Assembly seat have not been announced either.

Meanwhile, Congress’s elected leader for Dangs panchayat, Lalbhai Gavit and Waghai taluka panchayat members and Congress leaders Sanath Chaudhary, Alkhaben Gamit and Prakash Vaghela joined the BJP with 50 other party workers, in the presence of Vasava and Parmar, on Thursday.

In retaliation, the Congress on Friday welcomed immediate former president of Subir taluka panchayat and BJP leader Yashodaben Raut and 20 of her supporters to the party. Dangs seat incharge of Congress, Ajay Gamit and Congress president of Dangs, Motilal Chaudhary were also present on the occasion.

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