By: Express News Service | Rajkot | Published: June 13, 2020 11:28:30 pm
Interacting with mediapersons in Morbi, Paresh Dhanani said that Congress had erred by re-inducting Merja in Congress in the run-up to the Assembly elections in 2017. (File)
Terming former Congress MLA Brijesh Merja “sold goods” that the party had taken back by mistake, Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani on Saturday said that Merja had back-stabbed the people of Morbi and that they would exact revenge in the upcoming bypoll.
Interacting with mediapersons in Morbi, Dhanani said that Congress had erred by re-inducting Merja in Congress in the run-up to the Assembly elections in 2017. “I thank the people of Morbi and party workers who toiled hard to elect a leader and sent him to (Gujarat Assembly) to raise the voice of people. But we committed the mistake of taking back goods once sold and he carried forward the tradition of prajadroh (deceiving people). Now, prominent leaders of the party and all MLAs have decided that we won’t take back goods once sold, in future,” Dhanani said without taking Merja’s name.
Dhanani urged the people of Morbi to teach a lesson to those who have broken their trust. “In the coming days, clever voters of Morbi would teach a lesson to those who have back-stabbed them. Names of layak (deserving) people become immortal, but we have come to pray to people to delete the names of nalayak (undeserving),” said Dhanani.
Dhanani was in Morbi with senior leader Arjun Modhwadia, youth leader Hardik Patel and other Congress MLAs from Saurashtra-Kutch region as part of the Lokshahi Bachao Yatra (march to save democracy). The group had embarked on the march from Rajkot on Wednesday and has, so far, visited Gadhada in Botad district and Dhari in Amreli district to protest against Parvin Maru and JV Kakadiya.
Congress MLAs from Gadhada and Amreli, respectively, resigned as legislators in the run-up to the Rajya Sabha election scheduled to be conducted on June 19. Merja, too, had resigned as an MLA and from Congress on June 5, jeopardising the opposition party’s prospects of retaining two seats of RS from Gujarat. Merja was the eighth Congress MLA to resign since March this year, when elections to four seats of the RS in Gujarat were announced.
Modhwadia and other Congress MLAs held a meeting with local party leaders and workers at Krishna Hall in Morbi on Friday. Dhanani said that they would sit together and field a consensus candidate for the by-election to the Morbi seat vacated by Merja’s resignation.
Merja had joined Congress in the run-up to the Assembly election in 2007. The party had fielded him from Tankara seat in Morbi district, but he was defeated by sitting MLA Mohan Kundariya of the BJP. Congress had again given him a ticket to contest the 2012 Assembly polls from Morbi constituency, but he was defeated by sitting BJP MLA Kantilal Amrutiya. However, in the run-up to the by-election to Tankara seat in 2014, Merja had defected to the BJP. He returned to Congress in 2017 and rode the anti-BJP wave created by Patidar quota stir to defeat Amrutiya from Morbi seat.
After Merja’s resignation, Congress had herded its MLAs of Saurashtra, north and central Gujarat and south Gujarat into three groups. MLAs of Saurashtra-Kutch region had assembled at a private resort in Rajkot and staged a dharna before taking out the Lokshahi Bachao Yatra. They are likely to visit Abdasa Assembly seat in Kutch district on Sunday. Pradyumansinh Jadeja, Congress MLA from Abdasa, too, had resigned in March this year.
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