‘No alliance with topiwallas’: Gujarat BTP leader Vasava stings AAP on alliance

Updated on Sep 12, 2022 04:28 PM IST

Gujarat elections 2022: Arvind Kejriwal, Chohotu Vasava and son Mahesh Vasava announced the alliance at an “Adivasi Sankalp Mahasammelan” that they jointly addressed at Bharuch’s Chanderiya village on May 1

AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal with Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) founder Chhotubhai Vasava at the ‘Adivasi Sankalp Mahasammelan’ in Chanderiya, in Gujarat’s Bharuch on May 1 (Twitter/(AAP Gujarat. Mission2022)
AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal with Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) founder Chhotubhai Vasava at the ‘Adivasi Sankalp Mahasammelan’ in Chanderiya, in Gujarat’s Bharuch on May 1 (Twitter/(AAP Gujarat. Mission2022)

Ahmedabad: Gujarat’s Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), which has been in an alliance with Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) since May, on Monday signalled the end of the four-month-old partnership, saying that this party did not want to team up with any party that wears saffron or white-coloured caps.

“The situation is terrible in the country and we do not want to have an association with any topiwalla, be it the ones wearing saffron caps or those donning white caps with a broom symbol. They are all the same. This country is of people wearing paghadis (turbans) and all parties have ignored the issues of tribals,” BTP founder Chhotu Vasava said.

Kejriwal, Chhotu Vasava and son Mahesh Vasava announced the alliance at an “Adivasi Sankalp Mahasammelan” that they jointly addressed at Bharuch’s Chanderiya village on May 1.

But relations between the two alliance partners appeared to sour soon after.

On August 31, the BTP announced that it will contest all 182 seats in the state elections expected to be held in December this year. In its third list of candidates announced last week, the AAP continued to name candidates for tribal seats: Arvind Gamit for Nizar in Tapi district, Bipin Gameti from Khedbrahma seat in Sabarkantha and Praful Vasava for Nandod seat in Narmada district.

Vasava said he did not care about the impact of his decision. “People who want to become the Prime Minister of this country are shying away from talking about labourers and their issues. Whether we win or lose, we will not form any alliance with these topiwallas,” he told HT.

Vasava, once a tribal leader with the Janata Dal (United), founded the BTP in 2017 just a month before the assembly election and won two of the five seats it contested five seats in an alliance with the Congress; Vasava from the Jhagadia constituency in Bharuch and Mahesh Vasava, the party’s national president from Dediapada in the Narmada district

“We have been fighting on our own and will continue to do so. In 2017, the Congress only held talks (of alliance) with us but ultimately they fielded candidates against us,” said Vasava.

AAP leaders said they saw no reason for the BTP to exit the alliance and hadn’t been told about Vasava’s decision.

“We haven’t received any communication from BTP on calling off the alliance,” said Arjun Rathva, a candidate fielded by AAP from the Chhota Udaipur seat. His name was announced in the first list of 10 candidates.

Rathva said the two parties were on the same page on all issues related to tribals at all meetings held with Chhotu Vasava and his son, Mahesh

“Even the tribal ‘guarantee’ announced by Kejriwalji was finalised after discussions with them. BTP has in the past given us a list of potential candidates for all the 27 reserved seats for tribals in Gujarat but when we asked them to share more details like the constituency they will represent and the candidate’s winnability factor, we did not get a response. It is very unfortunate that Chottubhai has taken such a decision,” Rathva added.

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