Aam Aadmi party’s performance in Gujarat is below par and part of its MLA is seeking BJP, sources said. One of them, Bhupat Bhayani, denied he was officially concerned. But in apparent duplicity, Mr Bhayani told NDTV that he would be taking “the views of the people” on the matter. The statement looked out of place in the face of AAP chairman Arvind Kejriwal’s assertion that “none of my diamonds are for sale”, suggesting that the leaders he is sending will not change sides.
“I didn’t join the BJP… I would ask people if I should join the BJP,” Mr Bhayani said in an exclusive interview with NDTV. The reason, he said, was that the opposition’s low scores made it weak, and as an MLA, sitting on the opposition bench wouldn’t allow him to do anything for the people who voted for him.
“My seat is in an area dominated by farmers. I have to solve their irrigation problems. There are also many businessmen there. I also need to take care of them. If I don’t do this, I can’t do it.” There is no good relationship with the government. relation. I made my request before getting a positive response from the government. I will now consult the people and the leaders,” he added.
“The people of Gujarat have given Narendra Modi and the BJP a record mandate. I respect that…I worked in the BJP earlier and had a good relationship with the leaders,” the leader stressed.
Mr Bhayani worked in the BJP before turning rebellious and joining the AAP. However, he attributed his victory in the Visavadar constituency of Junagadh district to his work as a BJP MLA. “People know me,” he added.
Asked about the possibility that anti-defection laws would work, Mr Bayani brushed off. “India is a democracy and it is my right to work for the people,” he said.
Three independent lawmakers from Bayad, Dhanera and Vaghodia may also support the BJP, which won the state in a landslide for a seventh term, the sources said.
Driven by more than 30 rallies by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his chief strategist Amit Shah’s detailed campaign plan, the BJP won the state’s 182 156 out of 10 seats, with a staggering 53% of the vote.
The Congress party, which terrified the BJP with 77 seats in 2017 and limited the party to 99 seats, won only 17 this time around.
The AAP ran a strong campaign and won just five seats. Its key leaders in the state, state president Gopal Italia, Patidar leader Alpesh Kathiriya and chief minister Isudan Gadhvi all lost the election.
On the bright side, it got 12.3% of the vote, almost double the amount needed — at the expense of Congress — and was named a national party.
AAP chairman Arvind Kejriwal had predicted his party would surpass 90 seats and promised to win the state “next time”.
“Gujarat is considered to be the stronghold of BJP. We got about 13% of the votes. There are many people who trust us and vote for us for the first time. This time, we have breached the fort and next time, with your blessings, we will win Yes,” he said.
The AAP plans to contest in most of the states that will go to the polls next year, including Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.