Former Gujarat Minister Jay Narayan Vyas on Monday joined the Congress at their party office in Ahmedabad. Mr. Vyas’ son Sameer Vyas also joined the Mallikarjun Kharge-led Congress in Ahmedabad. While the father-son duo switched from BJP to Congress, they were felicitated by party president Mallikarjun Kharge and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
Mr. Vyas quit the BJP on November 5 citing personal reasons. He also said in a conversation with ANI on the day of his quitting the party that for some time, especially in Patan district, people sitting in the organisation are desirous of fighting elections and are indulging in factionalism. “They are targeting leaders one by one in order to remove and replace them,” he added.
Mr. Vyas had said previously that he would contest the election from Sidhpur but did not want to fight as an “independent candidate”. “I will fight the election from Sidhpur but don’t want to fight it as an independent candidate. If there is no option left then I might fight an independent candidate otherwise I will form an alliance with any party I like,” he said further.
The BJP, which is seeking its seventh term in office in Gujarat, has denied tickets to 42 sitting MLAs. The party also announced its big first chunk of 160 candidates and saw 38 sitting MLAs being dropped. Later, the ruling party also announced three more lists of candidates for the remaining Assembly seats. Several party bigwigs, including former Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, former deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and party chief Patil had expressed the desire not to contest the upcoming elections.
In the 2017 Gujarat polls, the BJP’s tally halted at 99 seats out of a total of 182 seats. The party has been in power for the last 27 years with Narendra Modi being the longest-serving chief minister of the state. This time, the party under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and C.R. Paatil is aiming at getting its highest seat tally exceeding 140. The state has been a BJP stronghold for a long and the party has set its sights on returning to power for the seventh term.
PM Modi has been Gujarat’s longest-serving Chief Minister from 2001 till 2014. However, it faces a stiff electoral challenge from the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has named Isudan Gadhvi as its chief ministerial candidate. Congress is also hoping to put its best electoral foot forward to unseat the BJP government.
Gujarat, having 182 assembly constituencies, will go for polling in two phases on December 1 and 5. The counting of votes will occur on December 8, which coincides with Himachal Pradesh’s result date.