Independent MLA in Gujarat joins Congress, party tally now 78

An Independent candidate who won from Morva Hadaf, a Scheduled Tribe reserved constituency in Panchmahal district, today joined the Congress.
With this, the number of Congress MLAs in the Gujarat Assembly has risen to 78.Bhupendrasinh Khant, who was with the Congress before the polls, had contested as an Independent after the party offered the seat to its ally Bharatiya Tribal Party as part of a seat-sharing agreement.

Khant won the seat after defeating the BJP’s Vikramsinh Dindor by a margin of over 4,000 votes. The BTP’s candidate, Alpesh Damor, came third.

Khant today met Congress president Rahul Gandhi and joined the party.

“I contested as an Independent and won. Today, I came back to the party but on the condition that the party will give me a ticket again from the same seat. I told this to Rahul Gandhiji and he agreed,” Khant said.

Khant’s mother, Savitaben Khant, had won the 2012 Assembly elections from the same seat as a Congress candidate but unfortunately died of a heart attack on the day the results were announced.

In the by-election held in 2013, BJP’s Nimisha Suthar defeated Bhupendrasinh Khant.

Of the three Independent legislators elected to the Assembly in the 2017 polls, Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani has declared support to the Congress while Ratansinh Rathod, the Independent MLA from Lunawada constituency in Mahisagar district, has declared his support to the BJP.