AHMEDABAD: Speculation was rife on Sunday that at least six newly elected MLAs — three Independents and as many of AAP — may join the governing BJP in Gujarat in the coming days.
As far as the three Independent MLAs — Dharmendrasinh Vaghela (Waghodia), Dhavalsinh Zala (Bayad) and Mavjibhai Desai (Dhanera) — are concerned, they had earlier said that they would support BJP. In fact, they had sought BJP tickets for the election, but contested as Independents after being turned down.
But, AAP legislator Bhupat Bhayani (Visavadar) triggered widespread speculation after stating on Sunday that the electorate had given a resounding mandate to BJP and he would take a decision (on joining the saffron party) after consulting his voters.
At the same time, the buzz was that two more AAP MLAs — Umesh Makwana (Botad) and Sudhir Vaghani (Gariadhar) — could also join BJP, which was aiming to get four AAP legislators so as to circu- mvent the anti-defection law.
In reply to a pointed question on whether he would join BJP, Bhayani, who was in state capital Gandhinagar on Sunday, said: “The people have given a decisive mandate in favour of BJP. I have to work for my voters and have to be connected with the government.” He added: “I will make an announcement in one or two days after consulting my voters.”
Later on Sunday night, Bhayani issued a video statement, saying that he would not join any party but work as a loyal soldier of AAP. “I am and will remain a loyal soldier of AAP. I will not betray the party or my voters. I will not join any party,” Bhayani said in the statement.
Speaking to TOI, Makwana rubbished the rumours, claiming none of the five AAP MLAs would ever join BJP.
Meanwhile, sources in BJP claimed that the party was in talks with four AAP MLAs as provisions of the anti-defection law would be circumvented if more than two-thirds of the five AAP legislators switched over. AAP chief Gopal Italia said there was no truth in the speculations.





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