Ahmedabad: In a prize catch for BJP, Narhari Amin, a former Gujarat deputy chief minister, who recently quit the Congress after being denied ticket to contest the Assembly elections, on Thursday joined the state`s ruling party.
Amin`s entry into the BJP is expected to boost its prospects in the Saurashtra region where renegade saffron party leader and former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel`s newly launched Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) is putting a stiff challenge to Narendra Modi.
Like Keshubhai, Amin belongs to the politically influential Patel community, and has a sizeable following among them.
Reflecting the significance of Amin`s arrival into the BJP fold, Chief Minister Modi, seeking a third consecutive term in office, welcomed him into the party, describing it as a move that would strengthen democracy.
"He is a leader who has remained among people to serve them since his youth. Coming of Amin to the party will strengthen democracy," Modi said.
Amin, who had been sulking ever since he was denied Congress nomination on the ground that he had lost two successive Assembly elections, said, "I am sure that BJP will win this election and Modi will secure a hat-trick in the state. I will work for the BJP now."
He had quit Congress on Tuesday along with six prominent leaders including spokespersons of Gujarat Congress Jayanti Parmar and Hitesh Patel, state party general secretary Ashish Amin, farmers cell chairman Dashrath Patel, teachers cell chairman Digvijaysinh Gohil, Ahmedabad Congress vice-president R C Patel.
Another 175 of his supporters also joined BJP today with him.