Ahmedabad: The Gujarat NCP spokesperson and members of the party’s core committee were among more than 500 cadres who quit the party on Sunday to join the Congress in presence of its state election in-charge Ashok Gehlot.
According to the Congress, the NCP members from across the state, going to polls later this year, were “miffed” since two MLAs of the Sharad Pawar-led party–Jayant Patel and Kandhal Jadeja–voted for the BJP nominee in the last month’s Rajya Sabha election against Congress leader Ahmed Patel.
However, the NCP’s official line was that only one of its two MLAs had voted for the BJP during the Rajya Sabha elections. The NCP and Congress contested the 2012 assembly polls in Gujarat as coalition partners.
“Among prominent local leaders of the NCP who joined the Congress are its state spokesperson Manhar Patel, the core committee members Jeevanbhai Kabariya and Takhatsinh Solanki, Rajkot district president Lalitbhai Katodiya, Tarunbhai Gadhvi, Vijay Patel, and Rajesh Patel among others,” the Congress said in a statement.
The Congress said these NCP members were angry over their party acting as the “B-team of the BJP”.
“Several senior NCP leaders were formally inducted into the Congress along with 500 party workers in presence of state Congress unit president Bharatsinh Solanki and the party’s election in-charge Ashok Gehlot,” it said.
Solanki said the NCP members were unhappy over the “undemocratic” activities of the ruling BJP and they were not interested in continuing with the NCP party leadership.
“The way the BJP and NCP came together during the Rajya Sabha elections is a matter of a grave concern. NCP was an important ally in the UPA government at Centre and in Gujarat, as the party contested the 2012 polls with the Congress. So it was expected from its two MLAs to support Congress’ Rajya Sabha nominee Ahmed Patel, but they betrayed us,” Gehlot said.
Ahmed Patel has welcomed the new inductees, saying their support will strengthen the party ahead of the assembly elections, as per the statement.