Hardik, Alpesh lead list of Congress turncoats seeking BJP tickets | India News


GANDHINAGAR: Hardik Patel (29), who shot to fame by spearheading the Patidar reservation stir and later became working president of Gujarat Congress, is likely to debut in electoral politics by contesting the Viramgam seat on a BJP ticket. His contemporary Alpesh Thakor, who had spearheaded a parallel agitation to protect the reservation share of his caste, too, will contest on a BJP ticket after a brief stint with Congress.
The list of Congress turncoats who might contest on the BJP symbol is getting longer. Over 35 Congress members who switched sides in the run-up to the 2017 poll and even later are pressing for tickets. Some put the tally at 40. BJP is now home to several ex-Congress members, some of whom have won polls on the lotus symbol and are sitting MLAs.
For instance, Kunvarji Bavaliya has been a five-time MLA and a Lok Sabha MP. Somabhai Koli Patel has been a Lok Sabha member from Surendranagar and an MLA from the Limbdi assembly seat on more than one occasion. Brijesh Merja is a strong contender for the Morbi seat despite the controversy after the recent bridge collapse. All these leaders have their roots in Congress.
This is turning out to be a dilemma of sorts for BJP, which will have to execute a delicate balancing act to keep its dedicated cadre in good humour even as it accommodates the Congress turncoats. Key sources in BJP confided that a sizeable number of Congress turncoats are being considered for tickets this time, including ex-Congress members who haven’t been MLAs or contested elections but enjoy popularity among the masses.
On the other hand, there are indications that senior BJP leaders, including former chief minister Vijay Rupani and deputy chief minister Nitin Patel, will not be considered for tickets as the party intends to give them other responsibilities within the organisation.



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