Cong's Amin joins BJP

Patel leader upset at being denied party ticket for polls

Cong's Amin joins BJP

Miffed at being refused ticket by the Congress for the ensuing Assembly elections in the state, Narhari Amin on Thursday joined the BJP.

Though Amin had lost a string of elections in last decade, he has some clout among the Kadva, sub-group of the Patel community. He had threatened to quit the Congress and even held a show of power with his supporters on Monday.

Welcoming Amin to the party, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said Amin’s move will strengthen the BJP and spell the doom for the Congress in the ensuing elections. Taking a dig at the Congress, Modi said: “Certain decisions are taken in a democratic set up, but hardworking and sincere party workers should not be stabbed in the back. Even if they are not given tickets, they should be taken into confidence before taking such decisions.”

A die-hard Congressman for decades, Amin exhorted the BJP members to work for the 2014 general elections. Coming down heavily on the Congress, Amin said: “The state leadership of the Congress has ignored the workers connected with the grass roots.”

Soon after Amin threatened to quit the party after being refused election ticket, senior Congress leaders Rajiv Shukla and V K Hariprashad had come down to Ahmedabad to assuage him, but the negotiations failed.

Future prospects

Amin had managed to retain control over the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA), where he was the president until Modi’s trusted aide Amit Shah upstaged him. The BJP is likely to appoint him the vice-president of GCA.

Reacting to Amin’s move, Congress workers said the one-time strongman had become a liability of late. The party finally managed to show some spine in dropping him this time, they added.

In 1990, Amin had contested the Assembly elections from Sabartmati on Janata Dal ticket and defeated Natver Patel of the BJP by 9,444 votes. Subsequently, he lost to Yatin Oza of the BJP in 1995 and 1998, by over 21,000 votes.

He was also defeated by BJP’s Jitendra Patel in 2002 by 59,190 votes. In 2007, he lost to Devusingh Chauhan of the Congress in Matar by 7,799 votes.

His last electoral victory had come in the September 2001 Sabarmati by-election, when he defeated BJP’s Babu Patel by more than 18,000 votes.

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