The Bharatiya Janata Party has received a huge boost towards its preparations ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat. One time Member of Parliament and five-time MLA Kunvarji Bavaliya has submitted his resignations as a Congress Party MLA on Tuesday. The powerful Koli community leader from Jasdan in Saurashtra region of Gujarat joined the BJP immediately after resigning from the Congress. He has also been allotted a ministerial post in the BJP state cabinet. MLA Kunvarji Bavaliya is a stalwart from the OBC community and his induction into the ranks of the BJP will prove very beneficial in the long run. Bavaliya had met Amit Shah last week during the BJP National President’s visit to the state to chalk out a strategy for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Deputy CM of Gujarat, Nitin Patel announced the news of Bavaliya’s resignation from the Congress and the subsequent induction into BJP at a press conference in Gandhinagar.
As pointed out by certain Congress leaders, Kunvarji Bavaliya’s exit from the Congress was a premeditated move. Bavaliya had been upset with the indifference towards him and other senior Congress leaders from the state. Rahul Gandhi’s plan to infuse youth into the Congress Working Committee meant that the party’s senior leaders, amongst whom Bavaliya’s name featured prominently, were sidelined while allocating key party posts in Gujarat. Bavaliya had been the frontrunner for the position of Leader of Opposition in the state, but thanks to Rahul Gandhi, the post went to Paresh Dhanani. State BJP President Jitu Vaghani pointed this out minutes after welcoming Bavaliya with a BJP scarf around his shoulders, saying, “Kunvarji Bavaliya will take oath as a minister later in the day. This is the beginning of BJP’s goal to retain all 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat in the 2019 elections. The Congress is left without any effective leadership and that is the reason why senior leaders like Bavaliya are joining the party.”
The influence and importance of the former Congress leader can be ascertained from the fact that apart from local Congress leaders, even Rahul Gandhi had tried to pacify him in a meeting between the two. The meeting took place after Bavaliya had first raised his voice to express his disgruntlement with the Congress. Bavaliya belongs to the Saurashtra region where the BJP lost a significant number of seats in the 2017 Assembly Election; the scenario could change now with his addition to the ranks of BJP. Furthermore, Bavaliya is also chairman of the Gujarat state organization of the Koli community.
With stalwart leaders like Kunvarji Bavaliya now joining ranks with the BJP, it is expected that BJP will be able to comfortably achieve its goal of winning all 26 Lok Sabha seats from Gujarat in the 2019 elections. Kunvarji Bavaliya’s inclusion in the party will also ensure shifting of the OBC votes in favour of the BJP and will heavily boost BJP’s performance in the Saurashtra region where he is a force to be reckoned with.