Rajkot, Aug 15 (IANS): Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel's Rajkot Tiranga Yatra has become the talk of the state, especially in the BJP, as some councillors of Rajkot Municipal Corporation and party office bearers remained absent from the yatra. Party sources said it is possible those who remained absent could be from former Chief Minister Vijay Rupani's group.
Sources said, "Vijay Rupani had a great influence on the party workers and leaders in the Saurashtra region, he also enjoys good support from BJP MLAs from the region. After he was asked to resign, he had given cold shoulder to his successor Bhupendra Patel and even C.R. Patil, during their visit to Rajkot."
According to the sources, some 25 councillors and few party office bearers remained absent in the Tiranga yatra. "This is a strong signal from the Rupani group to the party - sidelining him or his group can prove counterproductive to the party."
Refuting all these allegations, Rajkot BJP city committee president Kamlesh Mirani told IANS, "In such a huge crowd, it is difficult to keep an eye on each and everyone, when I learned about the councillors absenteeism, I inquired within the party. Nine councillors were absent, I immediately spoke to them, four of them were out of station for personal and social reasons and they have provided photos in support of their claims."
He does not rule out fractions and groupism in the party, and said that it is not of serious nature. "All programmes of the party are successful and all office bearers have attended, even the Chief Minister's past events have been attended by everyone, so there is no question of intentionally remaining absent from the yatra," Mirani added.