Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convener and former Gujarat Congress working president Hardik Patel will join the BJP on Thursday.
Confirming the development, BJP spokesman Bharat Dangar said that Patel, along with his supporters, will join the saffron party in the presence of the party state president C.R.Patil and former Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel at 12 p.m.
Shweta Brahmbhatt, who had contested Assembly elections from Maninagar constituency on Congress symbol, is also set to join the BJP the same day, party sources said.
Last month, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Gujarat visit, she had a one-on-one with him.
Reacting to this development, PAAS leader Alpesh Kathiriya said: "I got to learn about it from the media. Hardik has not spoken to me regarding this. I wish him luck for the new journey, but the road ahead will be bumpy as he has to address pending issues of the community and ensure that cases against the Patidars are withdrawn and a family member of those who lost their lives during agitation get a government job."
Calling him an "opportunist", Sardar Patel Group leader Lalji Patel said that because of Hardik Patel, those leading the Patidar movement were targetted by the community members when he joined the Congress. Now that he is joining the BJP, the leaders will have to face more problems, he added.
Political analyst Hari Desai opined that it is going to be a tight rope walk for Hardik in BJP and doubted whether he will enjoy the same power and authority in BJP as it already has several stalwart Patidar leaders.
Another important factor which might not work in his favour is that the fact that the BJP has not invited him to join the party, it was his desire. This was apparent from party general secretary Pradipsinh Vaghela's recent statement: "Neither the party has approached Hardik Patel, nor has he contacted the leaders to join us."