In the past few days, few MLAs left Congress in Gujarat in the context of growing factionalism in the party. After the exit of senior leader Shankersinh Vaghela, 6 more MLAs quit the party expressing their disappointments with the party and few of them have also joined BJP. Among those few is Balwantsinh Rajput, who once was the party’s favorite. In fact, it was Congress who has brought him up from a handcart seller to the owner of Gokal Group and an MLA from Gujarat.
Balwantsinh Rajput quit Congress and joined BJP and was immediately given the ticket to contest the Gujarat Assembly Polls due on Aug 8 against Congress contestant Ahmed Patel. Apparently, Ahmed was the one who had helped Balwantsinh to flourish both in his political as well as personal front. senior Congress leader Arjun Modvadia said that “It was basically Ahmedbhai (Patel) who enhanced his political career all along, from giving him tickets to making him the chief whip, it was all done because of Ahmedbhai, who also extended his help for his family from time to time. It is indeed an irony that Balwantbhai today is challenging Ahmedbhai for BJP, the party he stood against all along,” Modvadia added further.
Balwantsinh started working with his father Chandansinh Rajput on his handcart after his father lost job following the closure of an oil mill in Siddhpur. His father had once sent him to seek a job from the then CM Madhavsinh Solanki. But as if the fate wanted otherwise, he met another Congress heavyweight of the time Jinabhai Darji. Jinabhai advised Balwantsinh to open fair price shop from his two-room house and got him the requisite license. Gradually over the period of time Rajput came in contact with prominent political personalities, which inspired and paved way for him to enter into politics. Meanwhile, he also forayed into the edible oil business and set up Gokul oil.
In 2002, when BJP was in power in Gujarat, he defeated the only suave face of BJP in Gujarat Dr. Jay Narayan Vyas in his home constituency of Siddhpur. While he lost the seat in 2007, BJP’s intra-party factionalism saw the seat reverted to him in 2012. His accomplishments also made him a favorite of the Congress High Command in Delhi.