Five Surat AAP Councillors Join BJP Amid Horse-trading Allegations

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Five Surat AAP Councillors Join BJP Amid Horse-trading Allegations

| Updated: February 4, 2022 22:14

Call it the Aam Aadmi Party’s nuisance value or the ruling BJP pushing the panic button with the fledgling opposition dispensation’s gradual inroads into Gujarat’s bodypolitic, at least five AAP municipal corporators in Surat on Friday defected to the BJP amid allegations of an undercover operation.

There is widespread speculation that five more corporators would switch over to the BJP to ensure they have one-third of AAP’s 27 elected corporators to escape anti-defection laws.

The AAP won from 27 seats in a 120-member Surat Municipal Corporation while the BJP captured 93 in the elections held in February last. The Congress scored a zero and the AAP became the principal opposition party on its debut.

Four of the five municipal corporators, who quit the AAP to join the BJP, are women. They include Rutu Kakadia, Bhavna Solanki, Jyotika Lathiya and Manisha Kukadiya. Vipul Movaliya, a councillor from ward number 16, who was earlier issued showcase notices for anti-party activities, is the fifth.

After Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi, an MLA from Majura in Surat, welcomed them in the BJP with saffron stolls, the corporators alleged that, “We were being exploited in the party and not given our due for hard work.” 

When Vibes of India asked them about allegations of taking money to join the BJP, contacted them, three of the women corporators said, “Tell whoever says this to get evidence of such allegations.”

Vipul, who has been accused of luring away the defectors with lucrative offers, asserted, “The car that Gopal Italiya (AAP Gujarat president) uses is not his own; when he makes this allegation, he should clarify on this.”

The AAP chief convened a press conference in the evening to assert that, “BJP chief CR Paatil’s agents paid huge money to these corporators with an intention to break the AAP and they may try to do with it others. This is because they fear the AAP’s increasing popularity in Gujarat.”

Italiya may not be off the mark. This comes a month after a spirited AAP team exposed the huge head clerks paper scam, forcing the BJP Government not only to initiate police action against those involved, but also to cancel the exam. As many as 88,000 aspirants for 180 posts and the question paper had been leaked for a price.

Subsequently, the AAP leaders and party workers laid a siege to the BJP headquarters in Gandhinagar. Scores of them were jailed for a week, while journalist turned politician Isudan Gadhvi even faced allegations of violating the dry law.

Soon enough, a key Surat leader and industrialist Mahesh Savani quit the AAP citing health reasons. He has not joined any party but he has been a loss for the AAP. Two other local leaders of Ahmedabad and North Gujarat also quit the party to join the BJP.  

Read Also: AAP Might Be Hitting End Road In Gujarat; Councillors Untraceable

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