Top Congress leader Narhari Amin joins BJP

Ahmedabad: In a major blow to Congress ahead of the Gujarat Assembly polls, senior party leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Narhari Amin switched sides and joined the BJP with his supporters here on Thursday.

Amin, who has sizeable support in the politically powerful Patel community, was welcomed into the party by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who described the move as a step towards strengthening democracy.

Amin's 21-year-old association with the Congress where he worked hard to build and maintain a strong base of party workers, ended after he was denied ticket by the party for 2012 assembly polls.

He was seen sharing stage in all important events of Congress, with the state top leaders in the last one year, since the party started campaigning for the 2012 elections.

Amin said that senior leaders like him were 'insulted' by the Congress as it had given tickets to unknown faces but those who had worked for the party for the last so many years were ignored.

"Everything was going fine in the Congress party till ticket distribution. At the time of ticket distribution differences between the state Congress leaders came to fore as all of them wanted tickets to be distributed to maximum number of their supporters," he said.

Welcoming Amin to BJP, Modi said, "He is a leader who had remained among people to serve them since his youth. Coming of Amin to the party (BJP) will strengthen democracy".

"Congress has not only cheated people, but it has also cheated party workers by denying them tickets. It is important to defeat family oriented politics of Congress," Modi said.

Amin alleged that Union Minister C P Joshi, who was in-charge of screening committee on ticket distribution has by giving tickets to unknown faces fixed the polls before voting.

"I am sure that BJP will win this election and Modi will secure a hat-trick in the state. I will work for the BJP now," he said.

Amin is a prize catch for BJP, given the challenge it is facing in Saurashtra region where former chief minister and Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) president Keshubhai Patel has come out all-guns-blazing against Narendra Modi government.

Amin resigned from the Congress along with his six supporters. Another 175 of his supporters also had yesterday resigned from the primary membership of the party. All of them today joined BJP along with him.