Gujarat farmer leader Jayesh Patel, who has been at the forefront of protests against the upcoming Bullet Train project, joined the BJP today.
The affected farmers had never been against development, Jayesh Patel said adding that he has realised that dialogue with the government is a better way to resolve issues.
He was welcomed into the party at its headquarters in Gandhinagar by newly-appointed state unit chief CR Paatil and cabinet minister Ganpat Vasava.
Surat-based Jayesh Patel, a prominent name in the cooperative sector in south Gujarat, heads Dakshin Gujarat Khedut Samaaj.
Several protests were held by farmers under him in Surat, Navsari and Valsad districts demanding better compensation for their land being acquired for the ambitious Bullet Train project that aims to connect Mumbai with Ahmedabad.
Farmers had also filed petitions in the Gujarat High Court against the land acquisition. These petitions were, however, discarded by the high court last year.
"I realised that instead of agitation, farmers' issues can be resolved in a much better way by holding talks with the government. I am confident that my step to join the BJP will eventually benefit farmers," Mr Patel told reporters.
He said farmers had been mainly demanding higher compensation for their land and had never been against development per se.
He claimed farmers in Surat's Olpad taluka have received a higher compensation after he held talks with Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Revenue Minister Kaushik Patel.
"We will now try to resolve issues faced by farmers in Navsari and Valsad district through a dialogue with the government. Farmers are ready to cooperate," he added.
Meanwhile, CR Paatil said farmers from south Gujarat wanted Jayesh Patel to join the BJP so that "he can serve the people in a better way".
Of the 508.17-km-long bullet train corridor, 155.76 km will be in Maharashtra, 348.04 km in Gujarat and 4.3 km in Dadra and Nagar Haveli.