Accusing BJP of “trying to cause a split in Congress”, state party president Bharatsinh Solanki on Wednesday said neither Leader of the Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela nor any other party MLA will join the saffron outfit.
“Instead, some BJP leaders will be joining Congress in the next one or two weeks,” he told reporters here.
There have been reports of a rift between Vaghela and Solanki over Congress’s chief ministerial candidate. While a section of Congress MLAs want Vaghela to be named as the party’s CM face, Solanki maintains that a decision on this matter will be taken by the party high command after the Assembly polls.
“I met Shankersinh ji this morning. There is no question of him quitting Congress. Today, he has gone to Singapore on a personal visit. He is returning on May 22 or 23,” Solanki said, adding, “BJP will not succeed in creating division in Congress.” There have been rumours of at least eight Congress MLAs along with Vaghela contemplating to join BJP. When contacted, however, two of them rejected such speculation. “It is a rumour,” said Ramsinh Parmar, MLA from Thasra. “I am in Congress. There is no question of joining BJP. Some people are spreading rumour about me.”
Jamnagar (Rural) MLA Raghavbhai Patel said, “I was not in the meeting at Vaghela’s residence. Neither did he speak with me nor did I spoke with him since this controversy broke about. My name has been unnecessarily drawn into the controversy. I am not joining BJP.”
Last month, a section of Congress MLAs during a meeting with the then Congress in-charge of Gujarat affairs Gurudas Kamat had demanded that Vaghela be named the party’s CM face. The meeting was held at Vaghela’s Gandhinagar residence, but the senior Congress leader has repeatedly clarified that he was not in any such race.