Gujarat BJP president C R Paatil on Thursday gave an open offer to Congress MLA from Rajula constituency, Ambrish Der, to join the ruling party, a year ahead of the state Assembly elections, saying his party has kept a seat reserved for the legislator. Paatil gave the offer to Der, who had started off his political career as BJP’s youth wing leader, while addressing a mass wedding event in Babaria Dhar village of Rajula taluka in Amreli district, where the latter was also present. In the 2017 Assembly elections, the BJP had failed to win even a single seat in Amreli district.
Talking to reporters later about Paatil’s statement, Der said every party tries to give tickets to those who can win elections. Political observers said that Paatil’s open offer showed that the ruling BJP is trying to woo the Congress MLAs in its bid to win the state elections due by the end of 2022.
“In earlier times, when people used to travel by state transport buses, they would secure a seat by keeping their handkerchief, we have also reserved the seat for Der like that,” Paatil said while addressing the mass wedding function organised by Aahir Samaj. “He had started his career from our party and we have a right over him,” Paatil said.
While talking to reporters in Amreli later, Der did not clear his stand about switching over to the ruling party. “Each and every party, be it BJP, Congress or AAP, would like to field strong candidates in the elections and it is common that parties give such offers to leaders who have won the last election or who have a potential to win the next election,” he said. “I started my political career from the youth wing of BJP and spent seven to eight years in that party. Paatil was our senior and an MP at that time…statement, he is showing affection,” the MLA said. The BJP had on Wednesday held a one-day state party executive meeting in which the party deliberated in detail on how to prepare for the December 2022 state elections. In the past, the BJP had won over many Congress MLAs to weaken the opposition party in Gujarat. They include Congress MLAs like Alpesh Thakor, Kunvarji Bavaliya and Jawahar Chavda. Before the 2017 state assembly elections Shankarsinh Vaghela had also resigned by cross voting in favour of the BJP candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls, however, he had not joined the ruling party. In the 2017 elections, the BJP had won 99 seats, while the opposition Congress had bagged 77 seats. However, the BJP’s strength in the House currently stands at 112, while that of Congress at 65 as several legislators had switched sides.