The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which surprised many with its victory in Surat Municipal elections in 2021, is appearing to be in splits in Gujarat. On Friday midnight, six AAP municipal councilors in Surat switched sides to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Along with them, four AAP councilors who had left the party earlier formally joined the BJP. CR Patil, who is Gujarat BJP chief and a member of Lok Sabha from the Navsari constituency, presided over the event. Gujarat’s Home Minister Harsh Sanghvi was also present during the occasion.
The six municipal councilors who left AAP are Ghanshyam Makwana, Dharmendra Vavaliya, Kiran Khokhani, Ashok Dhami, Niraliben Patel and Swati Kyada. The four councilors who had left the party earlier are Bhavnaben Solanki, Rutaben Kheni, Jyotikaben Lathiya and Vipulbhai Movaliya.
The AAP had made a spectacular debut in the Surat civic body in 2021 winning a total of 27 seats. The Surat victory had marked AAP’s official entry into Gujarat’s politics. Now, out of the 27 seats, only 17 are left with AAP. The Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has 120 seats. The BJP had won 93 seats in the 2021 polls. With 10 AAP councillors, joining the saffron party, it now has 103 members in the house. Congress did not win any seat in the polls.
In the 2022 Gujarat Assembly Election, the AAP troubled the BJP and the Congress to win five maiden seats with a vote share of 12.92 per cent. The Gujarat assembly seats won by the AAP were Botad, Dediapada, Gariadhar, Jamjodhpur and Visavadar. With its victory in Punjab, Delhi and Gujarat, the AAP became eligible to get the status of a national party. The Election Commission of India on April 10 accorded the status of a national party to the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP.