Of the 27 councillors elected to Surat Municipal Corporation from AAP in 2021, the party is now left with 14. This after another AAP councillor was suspended over “anti-party activities,” the third in last week. In response to the suspension, Rajesh Moradiya on Monday said: “I am innocent. The party will realise its mistake.”
Reportedly and as stated by the erstwhile member of the civic body, “the party mistook the optics for reality.” As he shared: “My house was frequented by a lot of relatives and friends in the last few days. Yes, they came with an open offer from the BJP. But that does not mean I want to join in. How does one shut doors to relatives?” Moradiya insisted that there is little truth in rumours and underlined the fact that his hard work has led to “development work of over Rs 960 crores in the ward.”
Moradiya further rued: “I feel wronged. After all the hard work and devotion, I have been gifted with suspension. I did not expect this. I have not yet decided to join any political party and will continue to work hard for the development of my ward. Two-and-a-half years are still left for my tenure. Till that time, I will remain an independent councillor.”
Notably, last week councillors Kanu Godiya (SMC ward 3) and Alpesh Patel (ward 2) were suspended over alleged anti-party activities. Both joined BJP the same day in presence of Surat BJP chief Niranjan Janjmera. They claimed they were “pushed out and towards joining the BJP.”
However, defending the party’s decision, AAP spokesperson Rakesh Hirpara shard that there is clear cut evidence against Moradiya. “We have enough proof to suggest that even during Assembly elections, he tried wooing other councillors to join the BJP,” he said, adding that BJP’s disruptive politics is harming true development in Gujarat.
In 2021, the AAP contested the civic body election in Surat for the first time and won 27 seats in the 120-member House. However, 12 councillors switched to the BJP since. Over last week, eight councillors jumped ship, including those suspended.
Reasoning the trend, Moradiya shared that AAP does not value loyalties: “Before the Assembly elections in December, councillors elected to the civic body were promised tickets. We all worked hard but last-minute changes by Delhi were inserted by bringing in new faces. This was a huge let down and reason for many to jump ship.”
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