Congress leaders gathered in Mehsana Thursday and extended support to Vipul Chaudhary — BJP leader and former chairman of Dudhsagar Dairy arrested for alleged financial irregularities — and asked the influential Anjana Chaudhary community to help oust BJP from power in Gujarat, during the upcoming assembly elections.
After finishing a court hearing, where former president of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee Arjun Modhwadia and former chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela were called as witnesses, the duo addressed a gathering of Chaudhary community held at “Ma Arbuda Bhavan campus” located a few meters away from Dudhsagar Dairy.
“The fight is yours. We have come to support. We have come because both Bapu (Shankersinh Vaghela) and me were asked why we recommended the name of Vipul Chaudhary in 2013 as the chairman of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). Even during that time Vipulbhai was a BJP leader and he was the chairman of Dudhsagar Dairy and had also been the chairman of Amul (GCMMF). He was not a relative,” said Modhwadia while narrating to the audience about the court cases involving Vipul Chaudhary. Chaudhary was arrested in September for alleged irregularities worth Rs 800 crores.
Modhwadia said the name of Vipul Chaudhary was recommended when the Congress-led UPA government was at Centre as they felt that Vipul Chaudhary could help expand network of Amul across the country.
“We had no other intention. Vipulbhai did not come us (for the recommendation), nor did anyone else.” Chaudhary had left Congress to join BJP in 2007 and in 2013, he had also met Rahul Gandhi.
A group of at least seven Congress MLAs including CJ Chavda (MLA from Gandhinagar North), Baldevsinh Thakor (Kalol MLA), Raghu Desai (Chanasma MLA), Nathabhai Chaudhary (Dhanera MLA), Bharat Thakor (Becharaji MLA), Govabhai Rabari (Deesa) and Chandanji Thakor (Sidhpur) were among those present.
Modhwadia also defended the allegation against Vipul Chaudhary saying that the latter had made the donation to a dairy in the neighbouring state of Maharashtrato save the cows.
He said Vipul Chaudhary had not sought the mandate from his party to fight the milk cooperatives polls, and this invited the ire of the saffron party.
“This is the reason why he was jailed… If he remains in jail for few months, nothing will happen. If he bows down then there will be adverse effects. We should not allow it to happen and stand by his side. Let’s not discuss which party he belongs to. It is a fight of self respect that we have to fight together,” Modhwadia added.
Narrating how Vipul Chaudhary’s father Mansinh Chaudhary co-founded the Dudhsagar Dairy and managed it, Vaghela said it was on his request Vipul Chaudhary came into public life.
It was in Shankersinh Vaghela’s government in 1996, that Vipul Chaudhary became the home minister. “ The coming days are testing times for Gujarat. Do you want to get out of fear, slavery, corruption and inflation,” Vaghela said asking people to vote carefully.
Congress MLAs including CJ Chavda who spoke on the occasion heaped praises on Vaghela, who had quit the Congress party before the Rajya Sabha polls in 2017.
When asked about his return to the Congress party fold Vaghela later told mediapersons at the venue, “My talks are going on and once the formalities are finished, an announcement will be made at an appropriate time. I will not be joining the BJP. I have nothing to gain from Congress. I intend to give to the party,” he said.