Former Gujarat minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Jay Narayan Vyas joined the Congress on Monday, three days before the first phase of Assembly polls in the state.

Sameer Vyas, son of Jay Narayan Vyas, also joined the party at an event that was attended by Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in Ahmedabad.

Jay Narayan Vyas had quit the BJP on November 5. “People sitting in the organisation are desirous of fighting elections and are indulging in factionalism,” the former minister had told ANI. “They are targeting leaders one by one in order to remove and replace them.”

At the time, the 75-year-old had said that he will contest the elections from Sidhpur constituency but not as an Independent candidate.

On Monday, Jay Narayan Vyas said that BJP’s decision to replace Gujarat chief ministers over the last few years and to change the entire Cabinet in 2021 was not in the interest of the state, reported PTI.

“I felt this party [Congress] does not think about keeping a person at the center, even elects its presidents through a democratic process and only one name is not used for the post,” the politician told PTI. “Only the Congress functionaries decide who should be the leader, and no external factor like the Sangh is involved.”

Monday’s development came after the BJP suspended 19 of its party leaders last week for filing nominations as Independent candidates to contest the polls.

The suspended BJP leaders include former MLAs Harshad Vasava, an Adivasi leader contesting from the Nandod Assembly seat in Narmada district, Arvind Ladani from Keshod constituency in Junagadh, Dinesh Patel from the Padra Assembly constituency, Madhu Shrivastav from Waghodia and Kuldeepsinh Raulji from Savli.

The second phase of Assembly polls in Gujarat will be held on December 5, while the results will be declared on December 8 along with the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections.