Over 100 tribal workers and supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Navsari district have resigned from the party, expressing unhappiness over “anti-tribal statements” by party MLA from Gadevi seat, Naresh Patel.
The resigned members are leaders of the executive body of SC/ST cell of Navsari district, and belong to Navsari, Billimora, Vansda and Jalalpore. They sent their resignation letter to district BJP president Bhurabhai Shah on a letter pad of Navsari district SC/ST cell president, Dr Pankaj Patel.
In the letter, the workers said that MLA and former BJP president of Navsari district Naresh Patel, use to “humiliate” people from the tribal community by saying, “I don’t need of tribal votes, I win by the votes of other communities. I don’t care about the tribals of Vansda and Chikhli”.
Pankaj Patel, however, has not resigned but mentioned in a letter to Bhurabhai Shah that due to personal reasons, he was not keen to contest the local body elections.
Talking to The Indian Express, Pankaj Patel said, “I have been receiving complaints from the tribal community people against Naresh Patel for long. Earlier we took up the issue with the state BJP body but nothing came out. Now that the elections are near, the party will look into all the parameters… I have forwarded their resignations to Navsari district BJP president Bhurabhai Shah…”
Alleging that it is the work of Pankaj Patel, MLA Naresh Patel said, “I have never insulted any tribal leader. Patel had been regularly carrying out meeting of tribal community people to make his organisation, Adivasi Sena, stronger. He is the president of Adivasi Sena. We have intimated him to carry out the meetings under the BJP party banner and not Adivasi Sena, but he continues with it.”
Bhurabhai Shah said, “We are looking into the issue and we will sort it out.”