In a significant development for Gujarat’s political landscape, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Bhupendra Bhayani (also known as Bhupat Bhayani) announced his resignation from the state legislative assembly and primary membership of the party on Wednesday, expressing his belief that AAP was not the right platform to serve the people.
Bhayani, informed reporters that he would soon be joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), marking a surprising turn of events.
Representing the Visavadar seat in Junagadh district, Bhayani submitted his resignation to Gujarat assembly speaker Shankar Chaudhary in Gandhinagar in the morning, as confirmed by an official statement.
While the resignation letter did not provide specific reasons for Bhayani’s decision to step down as an MLA, Gujarat Assembly Secretary DM Patel confirmed the acceptance of Bhayani’s resignation by the speaker.
Bhayani was one of the five AAP MLAs elected in the previous year’s state polls, which saw the BJP securing a resounding victory with 156 seats out of 182. This marked the first time AAP tasted success in Gujarat’s assembly polls.
Addressing reporters after tendering his resignation, Bhayani explained that he viewed AAP as an inappropriate platform to serve the people of his area. He emphasized his identity as a nationalist, expressing a commitment to development and public service. According to Bhayani, a nationalist perspective is incompatible with a prolonged stay in AAP.
“I did not like to oppose Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is our pride and has made India proud across the world,” remarked Bhayani, who previously served as the sarpanch of Bhesan village in Junagadh before joining AAP ahead of the state polls last year.
Asserting his roots in the BJP, Bhayani disclosed his intention to join the party, citing a history of nearly 22 years of association with it before becoming an MLA. He further stated his willingness to contest a bypoll if the central leadership deems it necessary, clarifying that his decision was not influenced by any external pressure, as suggested by AAP leaders.
In response to Bhayani’s resignation, Gujarat AAP president Isudan Gadhvi alleged that the MLA had been “tortured” and forced by the BJP to step down. Gadhvi claimed that the ruling party had been attempting to weaken AAP from the beginning, suggesting that similar approaches were made to other AAP MLAs.
Gujarat BJP’s media coordinator, Yagnesh Dave, refuted Gadhvi’s claims, dismissing them as attempts by AAP leadership to deflect attention from internal challenges. According to Dave, the allegations were a result of the inability of AAP to maintain cohesion within its ranks. The unfolding situation sets the stage for heightened political dynamics in Gujarat, with Bhupendra Bhayani’s switch to the BJP signaling potential shifts in the state’s political landscape.
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