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Veteran Gujarat Congress leader Naran Rathwa and son join BJP

IANS | February 27, 2024 03:20 PM

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat Congress suffered a setback on Tuesday as its senior leader Naran Rathwa and his son Sangram Rathwa, joined the BJP along with a group of supporters.

The political landscape is poised for further change as Kwanta Taluka panchayat chief, Pintu Rathwa, is also contemplating rejoining the BJP after being suspended by it earlier.

On Tuesday, the Rathwas visited the BJP's state headquarters, Shri Kamalam, where they engaged in discussions with Gordhan Zadafia, the Central Gujarat incharge, before switching to the ruling party.

Naran Rathwa, a prominent tribal leader with a tenure spanning several decades, has been a crucial figure for the Congress.

His political journey includes being elected to the Lok Sabha five times from the tribal-dominated constituency of Chhota Udepur in 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998, and 2004, showcasing his deep-rooted influence and popularity in the region.

Following his unsuccessful bids in subsequent elections, the Congress party nominated him to the Rajya Sabha in 2018, a term set to conclude in April this year.

His son, Sangram Rathwa, who has held the position of President of the Chhota Udepur municipality, also resigned from the primary membership of the Congress and chose to follow in his father's footsteps and join the BJP.

This move comes at a critical juncture, just days ahead of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's anticipated visit to Gujarat's tribal belt with his ‘Nyay Yatra’, indicating potential strategic implications for the Congress party's influence in the region.

These changes could signify a reshaping of tribal politics in Gujarat, with the BJP seemingly consolidating its hold over an area traditionally seen as a Congress stronghold.

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