Gandhinagar: Keshubhai Patel, who ushered in BJP rule in Gujarat in the 90s and has revolted against Chief Minister Narendra Modi, on Saturday resigned from the party and announced plans to launch a new outfit which he claims would be the "real BJP".

Addressing a press conference, the 83-year-old former chief minister announced his decision along with the resignation of Kanshiram Rana, a former Union minister, from the party.

"Kanshiram Rana and I, who have served the party for the last 60 years, are very sad to send our resignations, from the party that we have nurtured here, to party president Nitin Gadkari. We are not switching the party but we are going to form the real BJP," Keshubhai said.

Keshubhai lashes out at Modi

The former chief minister launched a stinging attack on Modi saying the party had become a one-man outfit and gone far away from the principles of the BJP. The poor and the middle class have become unhappy with the government and Modi was keeping away from everyone including the media to avoid questioning, he said.

The announcement by Patel, who was leading an anti-Modi group within the state BJP ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections (due in December), was expected for quite some time, and the formation of the new party would result in a triangular fight.

Though a powerful OBC leader during his heydays, what impact his departure would have on the party remains to be seen since he has been marginalised in the state politics for quite sometime now.

In Gujarat, considered the Hindutva forces' laboratory, Keshubhai had emerged as a powerful leader of the numerically strong Patel community, which is the backbone of BJP's support base. The saffron party is in power in the state for the last 15 years.

BJP becomes one-man party: Keshubhai

"BJP has not remained the real BJP which we had formed by working for the last 50 years. This party has become a one- man party and gone far away from its principals," Keshubhai said, targeting Modi.

"I will tomorrow announce the formation of our new party," he added.

"The present BJP has gone miles away from democracy and has become insensitive towards the people. This Chief Minister runs away from people and media as he does not have to answer their queries," Patel said lashing out at the Chief Minister and voicing his unhappiness with BJP leadership.

"In this situation, I cannot remain silent and be a mute spectator and that is the reason I have decided to form a new party which will be the real BJP," he said.

The modalities for registration of the new party were being worked out, Patel said.

New party to field candidates in all 182 seats

Sources close to the former Chief Minister, who was unceremoniously removed from the post and replaced by Modi after BJP's defeat in two by-polls, said the new party will field candidates in all the 182 assembly seats.

"At this ripe age, I am not forming a new party for power as people have given me enough. My only aim is to give a better alternative to the people of the state," he said.

Patel is said to be still enjoying the backing of sections of the Sangh family, including RSS pracharaks and VHP volunteers.

Support for him is likely to grow when Mahagujarat Janata Party merges with the new party. Zadafia, while pledging support for Patel, had recently said he would merge his party with the new outfit.


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