Gordhan Zadafia was a leader in Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) for 15 years before joining Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the behest of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leadership. He served as the General Secretary of BJP in Ahmedabad City and was elected as a member of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly during 1995–97 and 1998–2002. He was a Minister of State for 'Home and Security' and 'Police Housing (Independent Charge)' in the Narendra Modi Government during 2001-2002 and played a key role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. Following a break with Narendra Modi after 2002, he pursued other political parties, competing against the BJP, but eventually rejoined the BJP in 2014.
Zadafia was a close associate of the VHP chief Praveen Togadia in the Gujarat unit of VHP. He is reported to have been inducted as a Minister in the Modi cabinet as a sop to the latter for his support of Modi's Chief Ministership. Zadafia played a key role during the 2002 Gujarat riots by posting police officers sympathetic to VHP in strategic positions and helping unleash saffron terror. He also interfered with the police operations and transferred police officers such as Rahul Sharma that did not do his bidding. On his orders, police raided refugee camps claiming that they housed rioters and terrorists and dropped all cases against VHP criminals.
After the December 2002 elections, Narendra Modi dropped him from the Cabinet to signal a break with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Zadaphia subsequently floated a new political party, Mahagujarat Janata Party (MJP) during the 2007 assembly elections in Gujarat, later merged into the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) of former chief minister Keshubhai Patel. During the 2012 assembly elections, Togadia and VHP activists campaigned hard for the Gujarat Parivartan Party against the BJP. Despite all efforts, Zadaphia and his whole team lost the 2012 elections. The VHP support for Zadafia ended up strengthening Narendra Modi's anti-hardline Hindutva image.
The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) questioned Zadafia thrice regarding his role in the 2002 riots. Following reports that SIT had found evidence against him and senior police officers, it was reported that Zadafia was inclined to testify against Modi. Following pressure from RSS leaders, Zadafia refrained from such a move.
On February 24,2014, Gordhan Zadafia rejoined the BJP and merged the Gujarat Parivartan Party into it.
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