Gun-brandishing Gujarat Cong leader & son join BJP

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Dhoraji (Gujarat), March 8: Former Congress MP Vitthal Radadiya, who had hit the headlines last year for brandishing a gun at a toll-booth, on Friday joined BJP along with his son and supporters in the presence of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi here.

The development could be a setback for Congress as Radadiya, who belongs to Leuva Patel community, is a prominent leader of farmers and cooperative sector from Saurashtra. Several cooperative movement leaders from Saurashtra too joined BJP at the function attended by thousands of people. Modi offered a saffron scarf to Radadiya, formally inducting him into BJP.

"It is for the first time in the history of BJP that such a large group of people is joining the party," Modi said adding he welcomed Radadiya with an "open heart". Modi also described Radadiya as a "fighter and a mass leader". Radadiya said he had been working for Congress for the last 18 years but now he was "mentally tired". "We have joined BJP to strengthen the hand of Chief Minister Narendra Modi who is the prime ministerial candidate from Gujarat for the 2014 elections," Radadiya said. "Congress people are saying they won't be affected by my joining BJP. They will see the effect in 2014 elections".

Radadiya had last October brandished a gun at toll booth at Karzan and his action was caught on CCTV. He was Porbandar MP then. He and his son Jayesh fought and won state assembly elections from Dhoraji and Jetpur respectively in December, after which Radadiya resiged as MP.

On February 25, he and his son resigned as MLAs and also from primary membership of Congress. He was miffed after Congress chose Shankersinh Vaghela over him for the post of Leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly.

PTI

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