It was a day of defections. On Tuesday, over half a dozen politicians, including former Trinamool Congress MP Anupam Hazra and Sujay Vikhe Patil, son of Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Congress MLA Dulal Chand Barar and CPI(M) MLA Khagen Murmu joined the BJP while Patidar leader Hardik Patel joined the Congress.
Hazra had won the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Bolpur in West Bengal. Along with him, Bgada legislator Dulal Chandra Bar of the Congress and Habibpur MLA Khagen Murmu of the CPI(M) joined the BJP in presence of party’s general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya. The TMC leadership had expelled the Bolpur MP for anti-party activities on January 9. Besides these three leaders, various members of a minority community from Bengal joined the BJP.
In a major embarrassment for the Congress, Sujay Vikhe Patil, son of the Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, joined the BJP in Maharashtra in the presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai. Reportedly, the development comes after NCP chief Sharad Pawar, whose party is in alliance with the Congress in the State, rejected Sujay’s request to contest the polls from Ahmednagar Lok Sabha seat.
After joining the party, Sujay lauded PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah for their leadership and also thanked CM Fadnavis for giving him a chance to serve the BJP. He said that youth and women support his decision to join the BJP. He added that the decision to leave Congress had been difficult as his family has been associated with the party for a long time.
“I am impressed with PM Modi’s leadership. We can count on BJP,” Sujay said while addressing reporters after joining BJP. He said, “I’ve taken this decision against my father’s wishes. I don’t know how much my parents will support this decision, but I’ll try my best to make my family proud by working under the guidance of BJP. The CM and other BJP MLAs were supportive and helped me take the decision.”
Meanwhile, Patidars leader Hardik Patel who led a movement for reservation in Government jobs and education for Patidars in Gujarat, joined the Congress party in presence of its president Rahul Gandhi. Hardik Patel’s outfit Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, which was at the forefront of agitation for reservation benefit in Government jobs and college admissions, had declared its support to the Congress party in the local body elections in 2015 and Assembly polls in 2017. The BJP has called him an agent of the Congress since the beginning of the quota agitation in July 2015.
Patel has indicated that he wants to contest the Lok Sabha election 2019 from the Jamnagar seat. The 25-year-old leader’s plans to contest the Lok Sabha election, the schedule of which was announced by the Election Commission of India on Sunday, may be possible only if he clears legal hurdles. He has been convicted and sentenced to two years in a riot case connected to the 2015 Patidar quota agitation, which bars him from contesting polls.
As many as four Congress legislators - Jawahar Chavda, Parshottam Sabariya, Vallabh Dharaviya and Ashaben Patel - have resigned from the grand old party and joined the BJP in the past month, suggesting that Operation Lotus is headed to retain all 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat.
In fact, Manavadar Congress MLA and Ahir strongman Chavda was inducted into the Vijay Rupani Cabinet hours after he joined the BJP on March 8 this year. Chavda is a four-time MLA from Manavadar constituency and a prominent leader of the Ahir community. He had resigned as MLA as well as from the Congress and joined the BJP. Congress MLA from Dhrangdhra Assembly constituency Sabariya joined the BJP on Monday as did Dharaviya - Congress MLA from Jamnagar Rural.
Former MP from Nagina in Uttar Pradesh, Yashvir Singh Dhobi of BSP, former UP Minister Vansh Naraya Patel and Gotiyari Lal of BSP, joined the BJP.
Congress MLA Chirumarthi Lingaiah from Nakrekal, also joined the Telangana Rashtra Samiti.