Amid speculations that OBC Congress leader Alpesh Thakur might make leave the Congress party to join BJP, a whole lot of other representatives have chosen their sides before the Lok Sabha elections. Thakur was a key figure in the 2017 Assembly elections in Gujarat, where he managed to win the Radhanpur seat with a margin of 15,000 votes. However, setting the rumours to rest, he clarified on 13th of this month that even though he was not entirely pleased with how Congress was working, he doesn’t have any plans to join BJP.
But Congress can’t sigh in relief yet. Since the first week of February this year, four MLA’s have switched sides from Congress to BJP. Congress MLA Asha Patel from Unjha constituency in Mehsana district resigned her office and quit the Congress party to join BJP. After this, exactly one day before the crucial Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, MLA Vallabh Dharaviya who represented Jamnagar in the parliament, also quit Congress to join BJP. He pointed out “lack of vision in Congress Leadership” as the reason to quit Congress party.
Jawahar Chavda, and Parsotam Sabariya, both sitting MLAs from Manavadar and Dhrangadhra constituencies respectively gave their resignation to Gujarat Assembly Speaker Rajendra Trivedi on February 8th evening. Chavda, who is four-time MLA from Manavadar, was inducted into the Vijay Rupani government with immediate effect. Parsotam Sabariya, who was arrested in last October in connection with an irrigation scam and was granted bail in February this year by Gujarat High Court, joined BJP on following Monday, 11th February.
In July 2018, veteran Congress leader Kunvarji Bavaliya also switched sides and joined BJP. He contested and won Jasdan by-election as BJP candidate and is currently serving as Cabinet minister in Vijay Rupani government.
BJP’s sweeping success in the 2014 polls, winning all 26 seats in the state, is not so much to be trusted when considering the 2017 Assembly election results. BJP has launched ‘Operation Lotus’ to win back the constituencies where the voters chose to side with Congress in 2017. As spoken by a source in BJP with conditions of anonymity News18 reports that, “With Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) joining hands in Uttar Pradesh and Congress forming government in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, BJP does not want to take any chances in its traditional stronghold of Gujarat. It has chalked out plans to retain all 26 Lok Sabha seats and, therefore, the party has deployed its ‘best of the spin doctors’ to checkmate Congress”.