Vaghela quits Congress ahead of Gujarat polls

RSTV Bureau

Senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Gujarat assembly Shankarsinh Vaghela has quit the Congress party just a few months ahead of Assembly polls, which are scheduled to be held later this year.

“I quit Congress, Won’t join any political party,” Vaghela said.

The party high command expelled me on Thursday, Vaghela added.

Vaghela made the announcement at a public meeting of his supporters held in Gandhinagar on his 77th birthday. The announcement came amid speculation that the veteran leader was all set to break ranks with the Congress, which he had joined about two decades ago, after quitting the BJP.

Leader of opposition in Gujarat assembly Shankarsinh Vaghela at a public meeting of his supporters on his 77th birthday

Leader of opposition in Gujarat assembly Shankarsinh Vaghela at a public meeting of his supporters on his 77th birthday

Vaghela’s move comes at a time when the Congress failed to muster its entire strength in the presidential election held on July 17.  Opposition candidate Meira Kumar could garner only 49 votes against the party’s strength of 57 in the state assembly.

Leader of opposition in Gujarat assembly Shankarsinh Vaghela at a public meeting of his supporters on his 77th birthday

Leader of opposition in Gujarat assembly Shankarsinh Vaghela at a public meeting of his supporters on his 77th birthday

Vaghela visited the national capital on Thursday and returned to Gujarat the same evening. He claimed that it was purely a “personal” visit and refused to divulge details about whom he met.

The former Gujarat chief minister has been at loggerheads with the Congress leadership for quite some time over his demand that he be projected as the chief ministerial face in the poll-bound state.

According to Vaghela, if he was projected as the CM candidate, the party would be able to take on the BJP effectively in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state.