After taluka panchayat, BJP loses municipality as 11 councillors resign

Posted by

In a major setback to the BJP in Padra taluka of Vadodara, the party has lost its majority in the Padra municipality, where it has been in power since February 2021.

This comes a week after it lost control of the Padra taluka panchayat as 16 elected members resigned in support of former two-term MLA Dinesh Patel alias Dinu Mama who filed his nominations from the seat as an independent. As many as 11 councillors of the BJP-run Padra Municipality also resigned in support of Patel this week.

The 11 BJP councillors also have the support of five councillors of the Rashtriya Samaj Paksha (RSP), making the majority number of 16 to stake claim to form an independent board in the municipality.

On Thursday, Paresh Gandhi, a councillor of the Padra Municipality said, “A total of 11 BJP councillors resigned this week in support of Dinu Mama… We have the support of five councillors of RSP and after the Assembly polls, we will stake a claim as independents to form a board. We have already been suspended by the party and we are fine with it.

Dinu Mama has been our leader and the party has treated him unfairly by denying him a candidature.”

President of the Municipality in Padra is Mayursinh Zala, the brother of the current BJP candidate Chaitanyasinh Zala.

The 28-member Padra Municipality had gone to polls in February 2021, in which 20 members of the BJP were elected along with five members of the RSP and three independent candidates. Losing 11 out of 20 members in the current rebellion, the BJP’s tally has been left to nine.

Patel, a two-term MLA from the seat, who is campaigning with an election symbol of a pressure cooker, said, “I had won as an independent candidate in 2007… I am returning to my roots… Once we win the constituency, they will form an independent board in the taluka panchayat and also the Municipality… The candidate chosen by the party this time is the one who worked against the party to have me defeated in 2017. There is no way I can compromise.”

Patel who had first won the election from Padra in 2007 as an independent later on joined the BJP. In 2012, Patel contested as a BJP candidate and retained his seat however he lost the seat in 2017 by 20,000 votes to Congress candidate Jaspalsinh Thakor. Patel is also the chairman of Baroda Dairy.

Since September 2021, Patel has been facing the animosity of the elected BJP MLAs, who are members of the Baroda Dairy board. Following a public spat with Savli MLA Ketan Inamdar over the issues of the dairy remuneration to milk producers, state BJP chief CR Paatil stepped in to resolve differences, after which the Baroda Dairy conceded to the demands raised by Inamdar and other MLAs.

While BJP leaders of the district unit did not comment on the developments, a senior party leader said, “The disgruntled representatives are party workers. Once the elections are complete, we will gather the local flock back.”