Kanodia brothers, known more for their dominance in the Gujarati film industry for the last four decades, are set to end their long association with the BJP.
The 76-year-old Mahesh, the four-term Lok Sabha MP from BJP who was denied ticket in 2009, and his younger brother Naresh (70), who was elected as MLA on a BJP ticket from Karjan in 2002 but was defeated in 2007 by a margin of little over 1,200 votes, are both set to join Congress in the next two days.
“I am not going to accept a retirement order from (Narendra) Modi like other senior BJP leaders did,” Naresh told The Indian Express while narrating how he and his son Hitu (42) met the chief minister on Tuesday to know if Hitu would be fielded in the upcoming elections.
“But we got no affirmative reply from him,” he said, adding that Hitu and his elder brother would also join the Congress.
Kanodias, who have been with the BJP since 1990, hail from Kanoda village in Mehsana district and belong to scheduled caste.
Stating that in politics, retirement meant one was no longer useful, the doyen of Gujarat films said he was energetic and useful even at 70. “If Modi and BJP don’t want us, we will have to look for some other option, because we are human beings like others and require something for our political existence,” he said.
Asked if any Congress leaders had approached him, Naresh said: “I have been contacted over phone by Rahul Gandhi and Ahmed Patel.”
Asked from where he or his son would like to contest, he said: “My son and I are artistes and can be fielded from anywhere. But we have given our preference for any of the six seats of Asarwa, Dani Limda, Vadodara, Kadi-Kalol, Kalawad and Rajkot.”
A senior Congress leader, on the condition of anonymity, said Kanodias would be inducted into the party at a function in the next two days.