Battlelines clear, 100 BJP members join MJP
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At least 100 BJP workers, some of them former office-bearers from south Gujarat, have joined Gordhan Zadaphia's MahaGujarat Janata Party (MJP) over the last three days. Some were given official posts at once.
Among them is Kashiram Rana's son-in-law, Chandrakant Rana, who is now general secretary of MJP's Navsari district unit.
The defectors also included disgruntled former members of Jan Sangh, who were waiting for an opportune time, something they saw when Keshubhai Patel and Kashiram Rana openly came out recently against Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Some of these leaders have been members of Navsari Nagarpalika and also office-bearers of the BJP in Navsari district.
Kantilal Khatri, former president of Navsari Nagarpalika, is now the president of MJP's unit in Navsari district. Dahya Digaswala, also a former president of Navsari Nagarpalika, was appointed the president of MJP in Navsari town. Thakore Desai, president of BJP's Shisht Samithi (disciplinary committee) in Navsari unit, has been made the state general secretary of the MJP. Desai was also chairman of the Navsari People's Bank.
The MJP had started a recruitment drive in Navsari and Valsad districts.
"We have worked hard to build the party (BJP) in south Gujarat but when the time came for us to claim credit for our efforts, we were sidelined by the present party leadership," Khatri told The Indian Express.
"There was no MJP presence in Navsari and Valsad so far, but after Kashiram and Keshubhai openly opposed Modi, we realised the injustice done to us. We met Keshubhai and Kashiram Rana as they are also old Jan Sanghis and after their direction we have joined the party," he said.
"Both the leaders had visited different districts in south Gujarat earlier. We are getting a lot of support from the people and many wishing to join the party have contacted us. We are also working in the neighbouring Valsad district and have started carrying out meetings with former Jan Sangh leaders and dissatisfied BJP workers over there and are trying to bring them into MJP," he added.
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