Ex-BJP rebel MLA Kalsaria joins AAP

| | Updated on: Jan 01, 2014

At Mahuva Taluka Panchayat, Kalsaria’s Sadbhavna Manch and the Congress together currently hold power, while the BJP remains in minority.

On a day when Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took oath in the Delhi Vidhan Sabha, Kanu Kalsaria, former rebel BJP MLA and farmers’ movement leader, officially joined the Aam Admi Party (AAP), indicating that his new party may contest all 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat in 2014 polls.

In recent past, the three-term BJP MLA had led farmers’ movement against the Nirma Group which wanted to set up a major cement manufacturing plant in Bhavnagar district.

In the process, he earned the wrath of the ruling BJP and unsuccessfully contested the December 2012 Assembly polls from Mahuva constituency as an Independent candidate. He said he had not renewed his membership of the BJP and was already in the core committee of the AAP.

At the AAP party office in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, Kalsaria, holding aloft the party symbol ‘jhadoo’ said, “Now, with the help of this broom, I will clean up the filth from Gujarat.” Dr Kalsaria, a practicing, popular doctor at Mahuva in Bhavnagar district, said the Kejriwal-led party’s recent win in Delhi Assembly elections has shown that the people want an option. “AAP has proved it could provide an option. So, I and all of my supporters in the Saurashtra region have joined AAP today,” he told Business Line after a press conference here.

Dr Kalsaria had upped the ante against Chief Minister Narendra Modi-led Gujarat Government to fight for the rights of farmers opposing a cement plant, proposed by Nirma, on environmental grounds. The agitation proved fruitful as the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests revoked the environment clearance granted to Nirma in December 2011.

“I am not against industries but against the industrial development at the cost of the poor and farmers,” he said.

Last year, Kalsaria had supported six candidates under his platform, Sadbhavna Manch, to contest the Vidhan Sabha polls but none of them could win.

Interestingly, just like Kejriwal, Dr Kalsaria also received Congress’ support to cobble together a majority in the local civic body.

At Mahuva Taluka Panchayat, Kalsaria’s Sadbhavna Manch and the Congress together currently hold power, while the BJP remains in minority. “For long, I have been in search of a party which could work for the poor with honest intentions. I did not find the BJP or the Congress a right fit, as both of them have lost their credibility,” Kalsaria said.

He claimed that more than 300,000 of his supporters in several villages of Bhavnagar and Junagadh districts in Gujarat will follow him to join AAP.

“I lack in some qualities to succeed in elections like strategy and converting people’s affection into votes, which AAP has successfully exhibited in Delhi elections. So, now I will follow the directions of Kejriwal,” said Kalsaria.


Published on January 01, 2014

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