<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a major boost to the Congress ahead of the Assembly elections, hundreds of leaders and workers of the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) joined the main Opposition party in Gujarat on Monday.The AAP members were welcomed in the Congress by president of the party’s state unit Bharatsinh Solanki, who said that they would add to the Congress’s strength, and help it defeat the BJP in the upcoming elections.The AAP leaders who switched sides to join the Congress include four who had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections on the AAP symbol.They include Rituraj Mehta, who had contested from Gandhinagar seat, Ankur Dhamelia, who had fought from Rajkot, Vandana Patel, then AAP candidate from Mehsana, and Labhubhai Bardiwala, who had contested from Kheda.They attributed the decision to quit AAP and to join the Congress to the former’s indecision regarding fighting the Gujarat elections.”For several months, there was no clarity on whether AAP will contest the Gujarat elections or not. The party recently announced that it will, and it has also declared candidates from some seats. However, we feel that AAP workers are demotivated and that the party is ill-prepared to contest. In such a scenario, AAP will only end up benefiting the BJP, which is why we have decided to join Congress,” Ankur Dhamelia told DNA.Rituraj Mehta, who is a developer by profession, and had contested the 2014 polls against BJP stalwart LK Advani, said that people of Gujarat are looking for a change.”We have joined the Congress without any expectations. Our sole aim is to ensure that the BJP is defeated this election,” Mehta said, adding that around 2,000 leaders and workers joined the Congress on Monday, and more are likely to do so in the coming days.In her reaction, Vandana Patel said that they have joined the Congress so that anti-BJP votes do not get divided in the elections.BIG NAMESRituraj Mehta, who is a developer by profession, and had contested the 2014 polls against BJP stalwart LK Advani, said that people of Gujarat are looking for a change.
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