In a blow to the Congress in Gujarat just months before an election, the party’s richest MLA, Indranil Rajguru, has crossed over to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The Congress had appointed him Vice President just a month ago.
Former MLA Indranil Rajguru’s exit comes at a time the Congress is at the receiving end of bitter accusations from its working president in Gujarat, Hardik Patel.
AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, announcing the new members, tweeted: “We all must together fulfill the aspirations of the people of Gujarat.”
AAP leaders have also reached out to Hardik Patel, urging him to make the switch to a “better alternative”.
Speaking to NDTV, Indranil Rajguru said people were fed up of the BJP and did not want the Congress. “AAP is the better alternative than the Congress, to take on the BJP,” Mr Rajguru stressed.
“In Gujarat, they (voters) don’t want BJP. But they are not satisfied with the Congress either. I have faith in AAP, so I joined AAP.”
Mr Rajguru is seen to enjoy immense clout in Gujarat’s Rajkot and Saurashtra region.
On ditching the Congress soon after a prestige post, Mr Rajguru said: “The people of Gujarat want a new party – a party that will really work for people instead of inflighting. AAP will be a good alternative to Congress and BJP.”
He added: “When people are fed up with the BJP and the Congress is not able to make up the gap, they have to think what they must do.”
Mr Rajguru, a former MLA, praised Arvind Kejriwal saying he fought for the people, not the party.
“This attitude impressed me a lot. I was in the Congress from the beginning because I wanted to serve the people. The BJP has acquired power by fooling people, while the Congress has lost its ability to become an alternative. My only problem with the Congress is that it lacks the will to defeat the BJP, “he said.
Mr Rajguru won as a Congress MLA from Rajkot-East seat in 2012. In the 2017 Gujarat election, he decided to quit his safe seat to contest against then Chief Minister Vijay Rupani from Rajkot-West. But he lost.
In 2018, he quit the Congress claiming he was unhappy with the functioning of the organization and that those working against the party were being rewarded.
Mr Rajguru returned to the Congress in 2019 and also campaigned for party candidates in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.