Former Gujarat BJP MLA Kanu Kalsariya, who was also the state’s Aam Aadmi Party chief,  joined the Congress on Wednesday evening after a meeting with party president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi.

Kalsaria, a social activist and a surgeon, who had successfully spearheaded a huge public agitation against a Nirma cement plant in Gujarat’s Mahuva, during which he had drifted away from the BJP.

“I have been fighting social causes but needed the right political strength to do it more effectively. I feel I can do through the Congress party,” he told mediapersons after meeting Gandhi.

The Gujarat Congress also made the announcement on Twitter.

Kalsariya has often called the regime of Narendra Modi as the chief minister of Gujarat and now as the Prime Minister of India “pro-capitalist”.

Speaking about AAP, Kanu Kalsariya, who had joined the party in 2014 and became its chief in Gujarat, said: “Somehow, AAP could not emerge strongly in the state.”

He said he had tried as an independent candidate too but “could not make a dent”.

“Farmers are unhappy, they want their rights. There is unemployment, health and education are serious issues in Gujarat. I decided I should join the Congress where I can work effectively,” said Kalsariya, who remained a BJP legislator over three terms from 1997 to 2012.

Commenting on the development, Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi told IANS: “Kanubhai is a sincere man with a clean image dedicated to public welfare for years. It is a good news for the Congress party that he has joined us and that too without any conditions whatsoever.”

(With agencies)