In Gujarat’s media world, the term ‘internal dissent’ has been used against parties other than the BJP. However, the situation seems to have reversed, as the BJP faces a surge of internal dissent within its ranks. While dissent within the BJP existed before, it was generally hidden and suppressed until recently. With several internal conflicts coming to light, simmering tensions within the party are becoming more evident.
A few months ago, the BJP removed Bhargav Bhatt, the state minister from central Gujarat. Pradipsinh Vaghela has taken over as the organisation’s minister for the South Zone, having previously managed the Kamalam office near Gandhinagar. Discussions were on about their alleged involvement in a significant land scam. Following an internal investigation, the committee asked Vaghela to resign, and handed all responsibilities to Rajni Patel.
The alleged involvement in the land scam raises concerns about its impact on the government or the party’s image. Vaghela has been instructed not to attend government or party events to avoid influencing the alleged land issue.
Accusations made in a newspaper suggest that Vaghela and one of his supporters grabbed large areas of land from Gujarat University to Sanand using their influence from the university. The report prompted Vaghela to contact the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Ahmedabad Crime Branch.
The SOG investigated Mukesh Shah and his daughter Jimit Shah from Paldi but couldn’t find strong evidence. Jimit Shah is said to have close ties with BJP’s national leaders. The SOG also questioned former Vice-Chancellor of Gujarat University, Himanshu Pandya, regarding allegations against him. It summoned a female employee and her husband because of their alleged connections. While no new allegations surfaced during the interrogation, it reignited discussions about corruption in Gujarat politics.
As a result of allegations made by the BJP Mandal against Vaghela, an investigation was underway. Finally, Vaghela submitted his resignation and was instructed not to attend any BJP or government events, including the Kamalam office in Gandhinagar. A BJP spokesperson clarified that Vaghela resigned owing to personal reasons.
While different perspectives have emerged about Vaghela’s resignation, the situation has brought attention to the internal dynamics within the BJP in Gujarat’s political landscape. BJP, despite the occasional internal conflict remained a closely knit party. Has that changed?