Umreth Cong MLA Vadodia back in BJP

Lalsinh Vadodia

10 Muslim leaders, including sitting and former Umreth councillors, also join saffron party.

Lalsinh Vadodia, Congress MLA from Umreth constituency in central Gujarat — which has been a Congress stronghold for decades — and 20 other party leaders joined the BJP on Tuesday.

Among the 20 are two sitting and two former councillors of Umreth nagarpalika, all Muslims, also joined the ruling party besides six other Muslim leaders. Besides, state vice-president of women wing of Lok Janshakti Party Hetal Patel also joined the saffron party.

State BJP vice-president Kaushik Patel welcomed them.

Upset over denial of a Congress ticket this time from Sojitra, Vadodia — who had left the BJP in 2007 — called up Anand district Congress president Ratansinh Padhiyar in the afternoon and informed him of his decision to quit.

Padhiyar confirmed this. "Till last week, he was attending all the programmes of the party in the district and was vehemently targeting the BJP. But now he has joined the same party," Padhiyar said.

He added Vadodia was not being repeated this time because the Congress had decided to spare the Sojitra seat for the Nationalist Congress Party as part of electoral adjustment.

"Vadodia's shift would not affect poll prospects of the Congress in the district," he added

Vadodia was an engineer working with the irrigation department till 1998 when Keshubhai Patel took him in the BJP and fielded him from Umreth. But he had lost to Subhash Shelat of the Congress. Later, Keshubhai made him Anand district BJP president.

In 2002, he was denied ticket by the BJP and replaced by Vishnu Patel, who defeated Shelat by over 15,000 votes. In the 2007 elections, when the BJP repeated Patel, Vadodia joined the Congress and defeated Patel by 4,114 votes.

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