Shankersinh Vaghela announces his exit from Congress, rules out joining BJP
Former Gujarat chief minister and Congress veteran Shankersinh Vaghela on Friday said he was resigning from all posts in the party, adding that he received an expulsion notice yesterday. Speaking at an event in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, to mark his 77th birthday, the incumbent Legislative Party leader said there was a conspiracy to remove him from the Congress. Vaghela also said he would not join any other political party and would continue working for the people of the state.
"Congress party ne mujhe 24 ghante pehle nikal diya yeh soch ke ki pata nahi main kya kehta; Vinaash kal vipreet buddhi (Congress party sacked me 24 hours ago as they did not know what I was going to say at this rally; when one's destruction time is soon to arrive, one begins to think negatively)," Vaghela said, reported ANI.
"I am freeing myself from the bondage of any party, be it Congress, BJP or any party. I am also freeing the Congress from my bondage," Vaghela said during his speech in Gandhinagar. He is expected to resign from his role as Opposition leader in the Gujarat Assembly today.
Meanwhile, the Congress denied expelling him from the party. "No action was taken against Shankersingh Vaghela ji nor was he expelled. These are baseless arguments. Its his decision," Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, reported ANI. "Vaghela ji wanted to replace the current Gujarat Congress chief. A party is always bigger than individuals."
Vaghela's disclosure comes a day after the party asked him to refrain from making anti-party comments during his rally. In a statement issued by the 22-member core committee of the state party under the chairmanship of GPCC president Bharatsinh Solanki, it said: "Shankersinh Vaghela had made certain comments about the party which he should not have at a meeting of his supporters in Gandhinagar on June 25."
"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," it added. Vaghela had responded to the warning saying the party can do whatever it wants, and has the right to stop its workers from attending his birthday celebrations.
Meanwhile, the party is also rattled by voting patterns during the Presidential Elections, which showed at least eight of Congress' 57 Gujarat MLAs cross-voting for Ram Nath Kovind, now President-elect. In response to this, PTI quoted Vaghela as saying: "I voted for UPA nominee Meira Kumar. I don't know about cross voting."