Day after, 2 Kheda BJP leaders defect to GPP

Keshubhai Patel with his supporters in Gandhinagar

A day after BJP announced its list of 89 candidates for the second phase of assembly elections, Kheda district panchayat president Rakesh Rao and district BJP general secretary Dolatsinh Dabhi joined the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP).

Rao, a former MLA from Matar constituency in the district, submitted his resignation to Kheda District Development Officer (DDO) Sandip Sagale in Nadiad in the afternoon. Soon after, Dabhi too resigned from the BJP and joined the Keshubhai Patel-led GPP.

On Wednesday, the BJP declared Devusinh Chauhan as it candidate for Matar. Chauhan had emerged as a giant killer in 2007 when he defeated former deputy chief minister Narhari Amin of Congress.

"This time, the BJP has given tickets to corrupt, criminals and to those involved in anti-social activities. People like us who have faithfully been working for the party for 20 years have been left out," Rao told reporters.

Similarly, Dabhi had sought ticket for Mahemdabad constituency. But the party decided to repeat MLA Sundarsinh Chauhan.

"Rao and Dabhi were welcomed in the party by president Keshubhai Patel and other senior leaders at Kheshubhai's bungalow in Gandhinagar. Rao will be GPP candidate from Matar while Dabhi has been given ticket for Mahemdabad," said GPP general secretary Jaykant Patel.

Kapadvanj bandh

Supporters of Bimal Shah, president of Kheda district BJP unit, observed a bandh in Kapadvanj town Thursday after Shah was denied a ticket by the party in its second list. BJP workers took to the street and forced shopkeepers and traders to close markets. Shah, a former minister, had lost elections from Kapadvanj in 2007.

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