Keshubhai's son Bharat joins BJP
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The BJP Monday formally inducted Bharat Patel, son of former Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai Patel. Also returning to the party was former rebel MLA and president of Kheda district panchayat Rakesh Rao.
Even as the development kicked off fresh speculation about Keshubhai, the veteran refused to comment on his son's decision. The Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP), which Keshubhai launched against Modi and went on to win two seats, one of them being his own in the 2012 Assembly elections, has not been an effective performer in the Assembly. Besides, the other GPP MLA, Nalin Kotadia, has gone public to say that it was just a matter of time before the GPP merges with the BJP. Keshubhai has refuted these statements.
Bharat Patel, who was at the BJP state head office and welcomed into the party by state chief Ranchhoddas Faldu, later said the decision to join the BJP was not a sudden one but friends in the party were suggesting this for quite some time, which helped him make up his mind. "I am not even a primary member of the GPP anyway, I only worked in the constituency of my father Keshubhai Patel in the 2012 Assembly elections and ensured his victory by a thumping margin on a GPP ticket," Patel said.
About whether he would convince Keshubhai to quit the GPP and join the BJP, Bharat Patel said he could not do so and the decision would be of Keshubhai only. "There is no change in his plans for now but nothing can be said of future moves as on date," he added.
Patel said he was offered an Assembly ticket in 2002 and again in 2007, but did not accept. "Again in 2012, GPP offered a party ticket but I declined that offer because I was interested only in the victory of Keshubhai," he said. State BJP general secretaries, Vijay Rupani and Bharat Pandya, and treasurer Surendra Patel were present on the occasion.