Six of the Aam Aadmi Party’s corporators in Surat, Gujarat, joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a party official claimed on Saturday, inflicting the opposition party a major setback.
In the presence of Gujarat’s Minister of State for Home, Harsh Sanghavi, these corporators joined the saffron party late on Friday night.
The AAP put up a strong performance in the February 2021 Surat Municipal Corporation elections and emerged as the opposition party by capturing 27 seats in the 120-member civic body. The Congress failed to create its account, while the BJP won 93 seats.
In February 2022, five AAP corporators switched to the BJP, however, one of them later joined the AAP again. The AAP’s strength has now decreased to 17, as six more corporators joined the ruling party.
Minister Sanghavi stated during their welcome ceremony that “AAP corporators resigned from their party and joined the BJP.” He continued by saying that the country is currently witnessing the AAP’s true face.
“The way AAP leaders spared nothing to defame Gujarat and people of the state, corporators of AAP joined the BJP with a pledge to develop their respective wards,” the minister told reporters.
Ruta Kheni, one of these six corporators, claimed that she joined the BJP as a result of being influenced by the saffron party’s ideology and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership style.
Prior to the December 2022 Assembly elections, the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP’s confidence had been strengthened by its strong performance in the Surat body elections in 2021. Despite running for all 182 Assembly seats, it only succeeded in winning five, and none of them was in Surat.
The AAP’s state unit alleged that its corporators were being threatened and persuaded into defecting to the BJP. AAP corporator Dipti Sakariya said in a video statement that she was invited to a BJP minister’s residence, in the state capital of Gandhinagar, and was offered money to join the party.
“I informed our general secretary Monoj Sorathiya about what was going on. Meanwhile, the matter came out in the open after AAP corporators joined the BJP. It is sad to see the manner in which the BJP is misleading them to join the party,” she said.
Rachna Hirpara, another AAP corporator, stated that the BJP has been attempting to persuade AAP corporators to change their loyalties ever since they won the election.
“Offers have been made to us ever since we won the election. BJP has been giving offers, and many corporators fell for it and took up to ₹ 50 lakhs to join the ruling party,” she alleged.
Also Read: If I Am A Thief, No One Is Corruption Free: Kejriwal Over CBI’s Summon