"Former MLA Dr Jeetendra Patel along with members Ramesh Patel (Doodhwala), Bharat Patel, Kamlesh Babulal Shah and Amrutlal Patel have decided to join Congress party," ex-Deputy Chief Minister Narhari Amin announced in a press conference.
An orthopaedic by profession, Dr Patel was elected to the state Legislative Assembly from Sabarmati constituency in 2002.
Patel gave "inconsistency" in Modi's ideological stand and his "autocratic" style as reasons to join Congress.
Patel who switched his loyalty to Keshubhai Patel just ahead of the 2007 Assembly elections had been denied ticket by Modi. He, however, stayed with BJP even as Keshubhai parted ways with the party to form 'Gujarat Parivartan Party'.
Patel and other BJP members who defected today are said to be organisational men rooted in western part of Ahmedabad.
"As these five prominent leaders have defected from the BJP, on whom they were having dependence in Western Ahmedabad region, Congress will now have major impact in upcoming Assembly elections," said Gujarat Congress President Arjun Modhwadia.
Apart from Modhwadia, State Congress Election Campaign Committee Chairman Shankarsinh Vaghela and former state Congress president Siddharth Patel also welcomed the development.
Ahmedabad: Ahead of Gujarat Assembly polls, former BJP MLA Jeetendra Patel along with four party members on Wednesday joined Congress, alleging Chief Minister's "autocratic" style of functioning.
First Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012, 00:45