Gujarat: Ex-Congress MLA Asha Patel joins BJP

Asha Patel, who resigned as a Congress MLA in Gujarat a few days ago, joined the ruling BJP on Friday.

Patel and some of her supporters were inducted into the BJP at the party's 'Cluster Sammelan' in Patan in north Gujarat in the presence of BJP state unit chief Jitu Vaghani and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

Rubbishing charges that Patel joined the BJP as part of a "deal", Vaghani said she quit the Congress due to in-fighting.

"We welcome Ashaben in our party. There is no question of any deal between the BJP and her. BJP never indulges in horse-trading. She has joined the BJP to serve the people in a better way," Vaghani told reporters after the function.

Patel, who resigned as an MLA and also quit the Congress on February 2, was elected from Unjha seat of Mehsana district in the 2017 Assembly polls.

She had defeated BJP veteran Naran Patel, who was also present at the induction ceremony.

Reacting to Patel's decision to switch sides just months ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Gujarat Congress chief Amit Chavda said people will seek answers from her for disrespecting the mandate.

On Thursday, Patel held a meeting with her supporters and Patidar leaders at Unjha town. After the meeting, she had announced that her supporters and community leaders have asked her to join the ruling fold.