Former Congress heavyweight Shankersinh Vaghela is keeping political parties in poll-bound Gujarat guessing about his future political course, days after he resigned as the Congress MLA in presence of senior BJP leaders. Maintaining suspense over his future political move, the veteran politician on Sunday ruled out floating any outfit or forming third front. Vaghela had already clarified that he was not going back to the BJP which he had quit in 1990s.
Interestingly, none of the 13 former Congress MLAs, believed to be the loyalists of Vaghela, was present at the meeting of his supporters held at his residence in Gandhinagar today.
At the meeting, Vaghela’s supporters passed a resolution urging him to “become active in order to ease the pains of people of Gujarat who are facing many problems at present”.
The resolution, which was shared with the media, was passed by around 250 supporters of the Kshatriya strongman at the meeting.
As per the resolution, the issues like price-rise, high electricity charges, unemployment, and costly education have affected the common man in Gujarat the most.
Vaghela’s supporters claimed that various sections of the society, including businessmen, farmers, students and women, are having a feeling that they were left to fend for themselves and there is no one to hold their hand.
Through the resolution, supporters urged Vaghela (77) to “become active” in order to put an end to such problems.
After the meeting, Vaghela insisted that the gathering was not political. He said the meeting was not aimed at exploring the possibility of floating a party or a third front ahead of the Assembly polls, expected to be held later this year.
“This was a gathering to discuss various issues concerning people and how we can help them. There was no talk about floating a party or forming a third front. As people’s sufferings are mounting, my supporters wanted me to go between them and ease their pain,” Vaghela told reporters.
When asked how he is planning to take up these issues, Vaghela said, “I will keep you informed about what and how I will do that”.
While addressing his supporters, Vaghela asked them to take care of each of the 182 constituencies in Gujarat.
“I just gave an example that you (supporters) are more than 182. Thus, I urge you to take care of each of the 182 seats, so that people start putting trust in you. Instead of working for any party, my message was that we all must remain by the side of truth,” he said.
Vaghela had voted against Congress stalwart Ahmed Patel in the recently-held Rajya Sabha elections in the state. However, Patel went on to win the keenly-fought battle after the Election Commission invalidated the votes of two rebel Congress MLAs for the violation of poll procedure.
Vaghela fell out with the Congress after the party reportedly refused to pay heed to his demands that he be declared the chief ministerial nominee and given a free hand in selecting the party candidates.
The Congress has been out of power in Gujarat for over the last two decades.