Former BJP MLA Kanu Kalsariya may join AAP

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SummaryFollowing its victory in the capital, AAP has seen a flurry of registration of members in the state.

Dr Kanu Kalsariya, former BJP MLA from Mahuva, who successfully spearheaded the public agitation against Nirma group's proposed cement plant in Bhavnagar district, is likely to join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Gujarat. Kalsariya who lost the Assembly elections last December which he fought under an independent banner, has been motivated to join the fledgling party after its stunning Delhi win.

Following its victory in the capital, AAP has seen a flurry of registration of members in the state, but Kalsariya joining the party is likely to prove a shot in the arm of the party in Gujarat. He is also likely to bag a key post in AAP, say sources. When contacted on him joining AAP, Kalsariya said, "I am seriously churning the idea of joining AAP along with my supporters. We are considering that on emergency scale and will take a decision in this regard by tomorrow."

A general surgeon from Bhavnagar, Kalsariya has been the face of the farmers' agitation in Gujarat which also caused a lot of embarrassment to the Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government. It was the farmers' agitation under Kalsariya's leadership that has so far kept the Nirma's cement plant away from Mahuva of Bhavnagar district. Union Government's Ministry of Environment & Forest (MoEF) has revoked the sanction granted to the project and a litigation in this regard is on at National Green Tribunal.

Incidentally, Arvind Kejriwal had supported a similar agitation against land acquisition for setting up the Raksha Shakti University in Lavad village of Gandhinagar district in 2012. The villagers were protesting that it was pastoral land.

Although Kalsariya had openly revolted against the BJP-ruled Gujarat government by supporting farmers' cause across the state, the BJP did not suspend or dismiss Kalsariya. In fact, in the 2012 Assembly elections, Kalsariya fought elections under the banner of his group called Sadbhavna Manch from Gariadhar constituency of Bhavnagar. He, however, lost badly to a BJP candidate.

Speaking to The Indian Express about his primary membership with BJP, Kalsariya said, "I had become a member of the BJP in 1998. After that, I was elected as an MLA. Later, (in 2012) I fought Assembly elections independently, but I have never been suspended or dismissed from the BJP. If I join some other party, it is up to the BJP to decide on my primary membership."

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