Gujarat BJP leader Bavaliya turns down deputy CM reports
Recently elected Gujarat BJP MLA Kunvarji Bavaliya Friday denied media reports that he will be made deputy chief minister. Reports appearing in a section of the local media said the veteran legislator will be made deputy chief minister. The state already has one deputy chief minister in Nitin Patel. Bavaliya, however, dismissed such reports as "rumours". Elected in a bypoll from Jasdan assembly seat in Rajkot district last month, Bavaliya is already a minister in the Vijay Rupani-led BJP government.
Bavaliya, who joined the BJP last year after quitting the Congress, said he would work hard so that his party wins all the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat in the ensuing polls. "No all these are rumours. I don't know from where it has come," Bavaliya said when asked about the reports.
"I will do whatever the party says. I will work as a soldier and in association with other party leaders, ensure the BJP wins all the 26 seats," he told reporters in Rajkot. Bavaliya, an influential Koli community leader, had won the Jasdan bypoll by a huge margin of around 20,000 votes. On December 31, Bavaliya had gone to New Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Modi had tweeted a photo of his meeting with Bavaliya. The Koli community is a numerically strong OBC group which has a substantial population in around 40 of the 182 assembly seats in Gujarat, including Jasdan. The community has largely backed the Congress since independence. Bavaliya had earlier won five assembly elections from Jasdan as the Congress candidate and also served as the Lok Sabha MP from Rajkot.
(With inputs from agencies.)