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Stating that so far as strategising for the upcoming Assembly elections is concerned, “there is no alternative to Shankersinh Vaghela”, the senior Congress leader on Saturday criticised the Congress leadership for not preparing enough for the polls, and also not giving enough freedom to take key decisions.
Presiding over a gathering of “supporters and well-wishers” at Civil Hospital in Gandhinagar, Vaghela, the Leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly, said, “If you tie our hands and feet and expect us to swim, how is that possible? Those who have no understanding of fighting and winning elections are sitting at the helm…like they own the party. In 2012, the Congress could easily have won 28 more seats, but for last-minute changes.” Vaghela asserted that he has not been involved in any anti-party activity since 1998. “But I can show you so many people (in Congress) who have acted against the party and are still in their position today,” he claimed.
Stating that the circumstances are “good” for the Congress in the elections, scheduled later this year, Vaghela said that “the Patidar community, the Dalit community, the Baxi panch, the OBCs…all are facing atrocities”. But, he asked, “when you are to take an exam, how can you give up, saying that the paper is going to be difficult?”
Indicating that local Congress leaders had tried to pull him down, Vaghela said, “There were posters recently put in Vadodara: ‘be it BJP or Congress government, Bapu will be CM’. I called up the police commissioner and told him…. Guess where the sniffer dogs led the trail to: the Congress karyalaya (office)!” He said the December Assembly election is “his last event” in politics. “I have experienced Assembly elections in 2002, 2007, 2012, and for the last one year I am working for this (2017) election,” the Congress leader said. “In Gujarat politics, where the strategy to pick candidates is concerned, you will not find an alternative to Shankersinh Vaghela…this mastery comes from experience.”