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In Gujarat, top Congress man joins BJP and vice versa

  
  
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  Kunwarji Bavaliya’s decision to resign as MLA from Jasdan in Rajkot and cross over to the BJP is considered a setback for the Congress since he is also president of the Akhil Bharatiya Koli Samaj, and Kolis constitute a sizeable chunk of the OBC votebase. Stunning the Congress, its Gujarat unit working president Kunwarji Bavaliya quit the party Tuesday to join the BJP which, within hours, made him a cabinet minister in the Vijay Rupani government. Bavaliya’s decision to resign as MLA from Jasdan in Rajkot and cross over to the BJP is considered a setback for the Congress since he is also president of the Akhil Bharatiya Koli Samaj, and Kolis constitute a sizeable chunk of the OBC votebase. The BJP moved swiftly to give pride of place to 63-year-old Bavaliya — the ailing Parshottam Solanki, minister of state for fisheries, has been its only Koli face. Gujarat Congress president Amit Chavda said the party had done all it could for Bavaliya but the “temptation of a ministerial berth” made the MLA join the BJP. Bavaliya, he said, had “betrayed the trust of the people’’ and “people will respond by defeating him in the Jasdan bypoll’’.
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