Ahmedabad: The Gujarat Congress is grappling with a significant political upheaval as several senior leaders, including former MLA Chirag Kalariya, make a switch to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The mass defection, occurring in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, marks a substantial blow to the Congress party's stronghold in the state. The latest entrants, led by Kalariya, joined the saffron party at a ceremony held at the State BJP headquarters Kamalam on Monday.
The exodus gained momentum following the resignation of senior Congress leader CJ Chavda, creating ripples within the party. Chirag Kalariya, the former Congress MLA from the Jamjodhpur assembly seat, announced his allegiance to the ruling BJP, setting the stage for a major realignment of political forces in Gujarat.
The BJP state president, CR Paatil, extended a warm welcome to the new entrants, emphasizing the transformative leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a compelling factor for their decision. Paatil highlighted the sentiments of public welfare and service to the people as driving forces behind this political shift.
Paatil underscored India's progress under PM Modi's leadership
In his address, Paatil underlined India's remarkable development under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He cited the awe of foreigners and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) who, upon visiting India, acknowledge the nation's potential to compete with developed nations. Paatil commended the swift progress achieved in a decade, attributing this success solely to Narendra Modi and the BJP.
The BJP chief asserted that the party stands unparalleled globally in fulfilling poll promises and election manifestos, emphasizing that commitments were made with genuine intent rather than for mere vote garnering.
Former Dabhoi MLA Balkrishna Patel, popularly known as Babu Dholar, was among those officially inducted into the BJP. Patel, who had contested and lost the assembly poll in 2022 on a Congress ticket, returned to the BJP fold after a brief stint with the opposition party.
Notable Congress leaders switch over to BJP
Vadodara Dairy’s Director Kuldipsinh, a Congress contestant in the assembly election, made a notable switch to the BJP, bringing approximately 1,000 supporters with him. Balwantsinh Gadhvi, the district Congress chief of Ahmedabad, and Jashwant Yogi, former head of the Nomadic Denotified Declassified cell of Gujarat Congress, also joined the BJP, further augmenting the party's strength.
The BJP's expansion received an additional boost with the inclusion of State Congress’s Other Backward Class (OBC) department head Ghanshyam Gadhvi and State Congress’s Other Languages Cell chief Karansinh Tomar. The State BJP headquarters witnessed an influx of Congress leaders, cadres, and supporters in this pivotal function on Monday.
The mass migration of senior leaders from the Congress to the BJP hints at a substantial shift in the political dynamics of Gujarat. As the Lok Sabha elections draw near, the BJP appears to be consolidating its position, while the Congress faces the formidable challenge of reorganizing its ranks and strategizing for the impending electoral battle.