Former chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela, who had quit Congress to float “Jan Vikalp” as a third political alternative in Gujarat, on Wednesday announced a tie-up with a little-known Rajasthan-based outfit, All India Hindustan Congress Party (AIHCP). Vaghela said that they will contest in all the 182 Assembly seats on AIHCP’s tractor symbol.
Speaking at a press conference here, AIHCP president Budh Prakash Sharma said: “The All India Hindustan Congress Party was formed last year. This will be our first election after the Election Commission allocated us ‘tractor’ symbol. Our strength in Gujarat is less and so when we visited the state recently, we found that we could form a common political front with Jan Vikalp and fight the elections together on a common symbol. The people of Gujarat have seen both Congress and BJP governments, and now expect to provide a third alternative.” Like Vaghela, Sharma was also with the Congress earlier. He had quit the Congress in 2015 to form AIHCP.
On Jan Vikalp’s application to the Election Commission for a new election symbol, Vaghela said, “We have now requested the Election Commission not to issue a poll symbol for Jan Vikalp party. This is to avoid confusion. We will fight on the tractor symbol of the AIHCP.” Meanwhile, Vaghela claimed that several members of AAP had conveyed their willingness to join Jan Vikalp. “AAP members had met me. We will include the good candidates in this front… AAP candidates are, however, free to fight on their own symbol of broom,” he added. The AAP, however, rebutted Vaghela’s claims.
“The party is neither joining any other political outfit nor we have invited anyone from Jan Vikalp Party to join our party. We are very clear in our strategy to fight the BJP and we will not do it in partnership with anyone,” said AAP’s media coordinator Harshil Nayak. “Our 11 candidates are fighting from constituencies where we are sure of a victory… We also request other parties to do the same and not aim for big numbers,” he added.
On possible tie-up with the NCP, Vaghela said that initially there were talks of alliance with the party, “but there is now no possibility of any tie-up now”. He also refused to have an alliance with the Samajwadi Party (SP) or the BSP.’