Hundreds of AAP leaders, workers join Cong
and help it defeat the BJP in the upcoming elections.
The AAP leaders who switched sides to join the Congress include four who had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections on the AAP symbol.
They include Rituraj Mehta, who had contested from Gandhinagar seat, Ankur Dhamelia, who had fought from Rajkot, Vandana Patel, then AAP candidate from Mehsana, and Labhubhai Bardiwala, who had contested from Kheda.
They attributed the deci- sion to quit AAP and to join the Congress to the former’s indecision regarding fighting the Gujarat elections.
“For several months, there was no clarity on whether AAP will contest the Gujarat elections or not. The party recently announced that it will, and it has also declared candidates from some seats. However, we feel that AAP workers are demotivated and that the party is ill-prepared to contest. In such a scenario, AAP will only end up benefiting the BJP, which is why we have decided to join Congress,” Ankur Dhamelia said.
Rituraj Mehta, who is a developer by profession, and had contested the 2014 polls against BJP stalwart LK Advani, said that people of Gujarat are looking for a change.
“We have joined the Congress without any expectations. Our sole aim is to ensure that the BJP is defeated this election,” Mehta said.
With Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi trying to turn the heat on Modi government on the issues of demonetisation and GST in the run-up to the Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal, the BJP on Monday hit back saying Congress’ duplicity on GST reeks of hypocrisy and doublespeak.
“A party (Congress) that had claimed GST as their brainchild is opportunistic in tactically distancing itself from it. It is perpetrating a fraud on the people of the country. The governments in Congress-ruled states were party to every single decision taken in the GST council; but the party is now claiming to have a different view outside at the political level,” BJP spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao told reporters here.
Defending demonetisation, Rao blamed the Congress for not liking the decision as corrupt policies it pursued in power would directly militate against the transparent economic regime.
“A shady parallel economy mired in opaqueness was a legacy that Congress party perpetuated as a part of its economic policy construction. For such a party a clean economy where tax compliance is a norm is an anathema,” he added.
Aware that the Congress will keep on hammering on the twin issues of note ban and GST in the trading community dominated Gujarat before the polls, the BJP has decided to hit back by raising the spectre of corruption during the Congress rule and bring in the role of Congress-ruled states in shaping up the GST.
“Every word of wisdom they now speak outside, why didn’t they say the same in the GST Council. Does Rahul Gandhi-led Congress has no control over the state governments that his party presides over,” asked Rao adding that politics of lies cannot take Rahul far and “we will expose his lies on all public platforms”.