Speculations of Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) five MLAs in Gujarat joining Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been doing the rounds.
The buzz is that the AAP MLAs are in touch with the BJP and at least three out of five might join the party.
AAP's five MLAs include Bhupendra Bhayani from Visavadar, Umesh Makwana from Botad, Hemant Ahir from Jamjodhpur, Sudhir Vaghani from Gariadhar and Chaitar Vasava from Dediapada.
AAP MLA Bhayani in an interview to a television channel praised the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, for taking the country ahead. He said that as a Gujarati he is proud of Prime Minister Modi.
He said that his win cannot be attributed to Aam Aadmi Party but his own work in the constituency.
Bhayani said, "I emerged as a leader in BJP during Narendra Modi's tenure as the chief minister in Gujarat. As a committed BJP worker (in the past) and as a Gujarati, it was a matter of great pride for me when Modiji become Prime Minister in 2014. I am still proud of our Prime Minister."
Bhayani had been a BJP rebel who joined AAP before elections.
However, later in the evening, he denied joining the BJP. He said that he would first consult the people of his constituency on whether he should join the BJP or not.
In case, three out of five MLAs from AAP jump the ship to the BJP, the anti-defection law would not apply.
The Arvind Kejriwal led outfit, in its second try, won five seats and grabbed 13 per cent vote share. However, instead of denting the BJP's prospects of coming to power, it ended by eating Congress's vote share bringing the party from 77 seats in 2017 to 17 seats in 2022.
The BJP recorded history by winning 156 of the total 182 seats and increasing its vote share by 3 per cent to almost 53 per cent, despite anti-incumbency of 27 years.
If the AAP MLAs break away from the party to join the BJP, it would seriously damage the prospects of Kejriwal to be seen as a national challenger to the BJP.
Meanwhile, independent MLAs and BJP rebels Mavji Desai, Dharmendrasinh Vaghela and Dhavalsinh Zala are also in talks to extend their support to the BJP.
(with inputs from PTI)
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