GPP man against Modi joins BJP

Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) candidate from Maninagar Assembly constituency Pravin Patel has joined BJP and announced support for Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

He joined BJP in presence of city mayor Asit Vora and Gujarat State Tourism Development Corporation Kamlesh Patel on Monday. Maninagar will go to polls on December 17 during second phase.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Patel said he decided to quit GPP as he was forced to withdraw in favour of the Congress candidate. Patel had on December 3 withdrawn his candidature in favour of Congress candidate Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt.

He said he had been asked by GPP general secretary Gordhan Zadaphia to help Bhatt.

"I had not joined GPP to support the Congress," Patel said, adding that it was the reason why he quit GPP and joined BJP to support CM".

"Though I had withdrawn in favour of Congress but working for its candidate was against my conscience," said Patel.

Patel was working for BJP before he had joined GPP. "I had earlier worked for Modi in Maninagar," he said. "It is like 'ghar vapasi', returning back to my old party," Patel added.

As for Keshubhai Patel, he said, "Keshubapa is an elderly person and I have full respect for him. I have no complaints against him."

However, GPP's withdrawal of candidate from Maninagar was interpreted as a gesture reciprocated for the Congress as the latter did not field its candidate from Visavadr against GPP chief Keshubhai Patel. Congress is also reported to have fielded a very weak candidate from Gondal from where Zadaphia is contesting.

Commenting on Patel's withdrawal from Maninagar, Zadaphia said Shweta had appealed all non-BJP political parties to extend support to her against Modi "to fight anti-democratic forces represented by Modi."

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