A day before joining the BJP, expelled Congress MLA Dharmendrasinh Jadeja on Tuesday alleged that the Congress was not acting against anti-party activities and there were people within the party who were working for the BJP in his constituency Jamnagar (North). Jadeja, who was one of eight Congress MLAs expelled for cross voting in the recent Rajya Sabha elections, said that the office bearers of the Congress didn’t listen to his complaints.
“The Congress leaders did not pay heed to my pleas to act on those working against the party. There were people within Congress who were actually working for the BJP in my constituency,” the 44-year-old first time MLA told The Media.
Jadeja will join the BJP in presence of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani at an event in Jamnagar city, which he has organised. Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja will also be present at the event.
Asked what kind of political future he sees with the BJP, Jadeja said a ticket to contest the upcoming Assembly election was not a precondition of him joining the party. “If the party fields me, I shall contest, if it doesn’t, I think I shall be able to serve the people even then.”
A native of Khambhaliya taluka in Devbhoomi Dwarka district, Jadeja had joined the Congress around 20 years ago and risen through the party ranks to earn a ticket in the 2012 election. In his maiden Assembly election, he defeated BJP heavyweight Mulu Bera by around 10,000 votes.
When asked if the people of his constituency will accept his change of party allegiance, Jadeja said he was confident that they were still with him. “An election is (like a) wrestling match… The public is supreme. I am a politician who believes in drawing his line longer than truncating others’. Therefore, I never attacked the BJP but focused on serving the people. Before choosing the BJP, I spent a month meeting the people and they were positive. I have organised Wednesday’s event in my personal capacity. The turnout at the event will make the picture clearer,” said Jadeja who also owns Raviraj Infraproject Pvt Limited along with his wife Prafulaba. In his affidavit filed during the 2012 Assembly elections, Jadeja had declared assets worth around Rs12 crore.
Sources claimed that a few Congress corporators of Jamnagar Municipal Corporation were also likely to join the BJP along with Jadeja on Wednesday.
Local BJP leaders welcomed the development. “BJP would have defeated Jadeja had he contested the next Assembly elections as a Congress candidate. Now that he is joining the BJP, party leaders will decide who shall contest from this seat,” said Hasmukh Hindocha, president of Jamnagar city unit of the BJP.
President of Jamnagar city unit of Congress P C Khetiya said electors of this constituency have been loyal to the party. “Jadeja’s 2012 win was a victory of the Congress and not an individual,” he said.