A year-and-a-half ago, due to infighting within the Mehsana District Council 17 Congress councillors resigned and as many as 10 of them joined the BJP. However, after an impressive performance by the Congress in the state, they have returned to their old party. Consequently, the BJP has lost political power in the Mehsana municipality. In the November 2015 municipal polls, Congress had won 29 of the 44 seats, and BJP 15. The Congress stayed in power for about a year. Last year, 10 Congress councillors “switched’’ over to BJP with their leader Raiben Patel continuing as municipality’s president after defecting from the Congress. The development is considered politically important as BJP MLA and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel won with a huge margin from Mehsana Assembly seat last month.
Earlier, the newly crowned Vijay Rupani-led BJP government in Gujarat got off to a turbulent start in the new year with Deputy CM Nitin Patel openly expressing his displeasure over the portfolio allocation. “More than the portfolios it is the self-respect that is important. And I have expressed my feelings to the Party,” Patel had told television news channels at his residence. Later the issue was resolved after giving him the finance portfolio. Furthermore, a Patidar leader Nikhil Savani, who had joined the party a fortnight ago, also announced his resignation.
BJP faced a similar sort of setback in the Noapara Assembly bypolls in West Bengal too, after former Trinamool Congress MLA Manju Basu on Monday rubbished reports that she is contesting on a BJP ticket for the bypolls scheduled to take place on 29 January this year. Basu’s statement came hours after the West Bengal unit of BJP announced her name as its candidate for the bypoll. “I am not contesting on behalf of BJP. I am with our party supremo Mamata Banerjee and I am with her in every decision,” she said, as per various media reports.