Suspension of rebels upsets Keshubhai | india | Hindustan Times
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Suspension of rebels upsets Keshubhai

The Former Gujarat CM tells BJP chief Rajnath Singh that suspending the five party MLAs will only worsen the party situation, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Jul 26, 2007 02:58 IST
Shekhar Iyer

Former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel has told BJP chief Rajnath Singh that suspending the five party MLAs, who cross-voted for UPA-Left presidential candidate Pratibha Patil, will only worsen the party situation.

Patel said the action will not deter other MLAs from speaking out against Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

But Modi and Arun Jaitely, BJP’s general secretary who is handling the year-end assembly polls, feel Patel is in no position to defend the suspended MLAs, who are Patel community members.

In a show of defiance, two more BJP MLAs joined the rebels on Tuesday. Narendra Jadeja and Gopal Dhua from Kutch appeared on the “Sardar Patel Utkarsha Samiti” platform with the five suspended MLAs.

The five MLAs, Dhirubhai Gajera, Gordhan Jhadafiya, Bechardas Bhadani, Bavkubhai Unghad and Balubhai Tanti, have held meetings to mobilise land-owning farmers against the Modi administration.

Modi had replaced many MLAs in the 2002 polls to defeat the anti-incumbency factor. Many more are expected to be dropped this time as well.

"In the Porbander municipal elections, he replaced the entire lot of corporators to ensure a sweep for BJP,” said a BJP official. Modi called on Patel, who too was due to attend the Visavadar convention, on his 78th birthday on Tuesday. Asked if the whip would be cracked on more MLAs opposing Modi, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javedekar said, “That (suspension of five MLAs) was not the final action. It was a warning."

Meanwhile, Singh has set up a four-member committee on Tuesday’s attack on Jamnagar mayor Manaharsinh Zala, accusing the Congress of attempting on the life of the Dalit leader.