Hit by exodus, Cong puts up a brave face, says good riddance

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A dozen leaders gone to BJP and yet nobody at the Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan, the state Congress headquarters, was even wincing.

In the past few weeks, the state Congress has lost several office-bearers, beginning with its spokesperson from Bharuch Asifa Khan, who is an Ahmed Patel protege, to now former deputy chief minister and Patel leader Narhari Amin. Most of them left because they did not get tickets to contest elections since Congress leaders in Delhi were against renominating chronic losers.

Some of the defections were as fast as a wink. Like that of Shankersinh Vaghela loyalist Girish Parmar and Jamnagar's Poonam Madam, who were Congress leaders by day and BJP contestants by night. Girish quit Congress after being denied party ticket for Dani Limda seat in Ahmedabad, which was given to Shailesh Parmar. Girish got a BJP ticket for the same seat. Madam quit and got a BJP ticket from Khambhaliya in Jamnagar. Asifa Khan had told The Indian Express in an earlier interview that she joined BJP after a 55-minute meeting with CM Narendra Modi.

Many from the Congress who quit are either from the erstwhile Janata Dal (Gujarat) faction headed by late chief minister Chimanbhai Patel, like Amin, or they belong to the Rashtriya Janata Party faction once led by Shankersinh Vaghela.

Former Congress spokesperson and Amin loyalist Jayantilal Parmar, who also left the Congress along with Amin, said, "We left because the way Amin was treated by state party leaders."

"Till a day before the last day of filing nominations, Amin was assured of a ticket from some constituency. But at the last moment, the state party leadership said his name had been dropped," Parmar said. "This was a humiliation to a leader like Amin."

"If the party had decided he would not be given a nomination, they should have told him in the very beginning. But he was kept in dark," said the former Congress spokesperson.

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