A day before a gathering of his supporters at a mega birthday event, Congress on Thursday warned senior leader Shankersinh Vaghela, who had earlier criticised the party leadership for not preparing enough for the Gujarat polls, against any anti-party comments.
The warning came after results of the Presidential poll showed at least eight of Congress’s 57 MLAs cross-voted for NDA’s candidate Ram Nath Kovind, now the President-elect. With Vaghela planning to celebrate his birthday on July 21 in a grand way the party on Thursday said, “We extend our greetings to him on his birthday. But, if he does any kind of politics on the pretext of birthday celebration, it is unacceptable. The party will not tolerate it.”
The cross-voting in Gujarat has probably rattled Congress, which seeks to keep its flock together ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections on August 8. Party president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel is expected to contest again.
Meanwhile, Vaghela visited Delhi on Thursday amid reports of he being invited for a meeting with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. Vaghela, however, maintained he was going to Delhi for some “personal” work and refused to divulge details about whom he met, PTI reported. On cross-voting, PTI quoted Vaghela as saying: “I voted for UPA nominee Meira Kumar. I don’t know about cross voting.”
It’s for the first time that Congress has issued a warning to Vaghela, its legislature party leader, who is reportedly upset over not being declared chief ministerial candidate. He has skipped several key party meetings and events over the past few months, and also unfollowed senior leaders, including Rahul, on Twitter.
In a statement issued after a meeting of the 22-member core committee of the state party unit under the chairmanship of the GPCC president Bharatsinh Solanki, said: “Vaghela had made certain comments about the party which he should not have at a meeting of his supporters in Gandhinagar on June 25.”