Days after Kunwarji Bavaliya resigned from the Congress, senior OBC leader and MLA Vikram Madam on Friday said that he may quit the party if the state leadership did not address his “grievances”. The OBC leader, who has represented Jamnagar in the Lok Sabha twice, and is now the MLA from Khambhalia, said: “I will raise several issues and questions that are bothering me on the party forum and will expect answers. If I am not satisfied, I can leave the Congress.”
Declining to reveal his “grievances”, he said it will not be appropriate to discuss his problems with the media before speaking to the state Congress president. Soon after Madam’s statement, state Congress president Amit Chavda invited him to Ahmedabad. Chavda said, “I and other senior party leaders heard his grievances. These are very small matters, pertaining to clash of ego with local leaders. It is not a big thing. I will solve it. This is not an issue for an MLA to quit.”
According to party sources in Jamnagar, Madam was feeling slighted as he was not being invited to party programmes by Jamnagar District Congress Committee (JDCC) president J T Patel despite being a senior MLA. He was allegedly being sidelined in the selection of office-bearers for various committees in Jamnagar and Devbhumi Dwarka district panchayats where the Congress is in power.
Madam holds considerable influence over the Ahir electorates in Jamnagar and Devbhumi Dwarka districts.
Addressing mediapersons after his meeting with Chavda and other party leaders, Madam said, “I have conveyed my grievances to the party leadership. I have clearly told that if injustice with my supporters is not stopped, there is no point in staying with the party. I am a leader because of my supporters. I will leave the party and stay at home and do social service through my hospital in Jamnagar and other institutions… I am sure my grievances will be solved.”
Madam said that he will meet Congress president Rahul Gandhi and discuss the issues with him.
The Congress president is scheduled to visit Bhavnagar and Amreli districts on July 16 and 17. Madam said that he was staying for another two days in Ahmedabad during which he will be meeting senior party leaders. However, Madam also said that unlike Bavaliya — who joined the BJP and was given a cabinet post — he would never join the ruling party.
“There is no question of joining the BJP. Several leaders in the past have sold their souls and joined BJP. But I will never sell myself. My ideal is Shaheed Bhagat Singh. Like him, I was also born on March 23. Like Shaheed Bhagat Singh laid down his life for the nation, I will always remain loyal to the party. In case my problems are not solved by the party, I will say good bye to the party, take rest and work for my supporters. But, under no circumstances, I will cross over to BJP,” he said.
“I can leave the Congress, I can leave politics, but I will never join the BJP. I will never wear a saffron scarf,” Madam, who has been in the party for the last 28 years, said. Meanwhile, his niece Poonam Madam is BJP’s Lok Sabha MP from Jamangar seat.
According to party sources, senior state Congress leaders are disgruntled after Rahul appointed newcomers Amit Chavda and Paresh Dhanani the state unit chief and Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Assembly, respectively.
Madam was elected as MP from Jamangar in 2004 and 2009. He won the Assembly election from Khambhalia in 2002 and again in 2017. According to party sources, he was a contender for the post of LoP after the last year’s elections, but in the wake of Patel quota agitation, the Congress decided to give the post to Dhanani, who belongs to the Patel community. —With PTI