Day after quitting Congress, Gujarat leaders Modhwadia, Der join BJP ahead of LS polls

Former Gujarat Congress chief and ex-MLA Arjun Modhwadia along with the party’s former working president Ambarish Der joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday, a day after they quit the grand old party.

The two leaders joined the saffron party at its state headquarters ‘Kamalam’ here along with several others. State BJP chief C R Paatil inducted them into the party by offering them saffron caps and scarves. Modhwadia and Der resigned on Monday, expressing anguish over the party’s decision to “boycott” Lord Ram temple consecration ceremony held in Ayodhya in January.

Interestingly, both leaders announced their decision to quit Congress just three days ahead of the scheduled entry of Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Gujarat. One of the senior-most and most influential opposition leaders in Gujarat, Modhwadia, 67, was associated with the Congress for nearly 40 years. He had also served as the leader of the opposition and as the state unit president.

Addressing media after joining the BJP, Modhwadia said that he wanted to contribute towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to fulfil Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of achieving social and economic independence for the country.

“Even after India gained political independence in 1947, Gandhi’s dream of social and economic freedom for the country remains far from being realised. Prime Minister Modi and Amit Shah, the two sons of Gujarat, are leading the country and working hard with the dream of making India developed…Modi is working to achieve the dream of social and economic changes that were left unfulfilled,” he said.

The former veteran Congress leader said that he entered politics to bring about social and economic changes, and this did not appear possible in the Congress. “All efforts made there remained unsuccessful. I can today see the dream I envisioned for Porbandar being realised under Modi’s leadership,” he said.

Modhwadia emphasised that he was not joining the BJP due to any coercion or allurement as claimed by the Congress. “I am joining the party to bring about a change in the country,” he added. Der said the BJP worked to resolve issues in the country that were pending for years. He accused the Congress leaders of misguiding people and making shocking statements regarding the Ayodhya Ram temple. “I am here in politics to deliver.

I have joined the BJP to get the political platform of a party which is working effectively,” he said. In his address after inducting them, Paatil said that India will become the world’s topmost nation under the leadership of PM Modi, and leaders were joining the BJP to contribute to this effort. Congress leader from Jamnagar, Mulu Kandoriya who had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha election in 2019, was also among the leaders who joined the BJP along with Modhwadia and Der.

“You have worked to join the BJP because you want to contribute to Modi’s efforts to develop Gujarat, and with it the country. It is your desire to work for the people and help them. You have joined the BJP to find the right platform for this. Let us work together for the same,” he said. Days before Der and Modhwadia quit Congress, the party’s Rajya Sabha member and former Union Minister Naran Rathwa had joined the ruling BJP along with his son and a large number of supporters.

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