Gandhinagar: In a big blow to the Congress in Gujarat, one of its tallest leaders Shankarsinh Vaghela, Saturday announced he was quitting the party but ruled out joining BJP.
The dramatic announcement By Vaghela, a former RSS and BJP member, was made at a public event organised to celebrate his 77th birthday. It came a day after the disunity in the state Congress came out in the open when it transpired that at least eight of its 57 MLAs had not voted for the joint opposition’s presidential Meira Kumar.
Vaghela, the Kshatriya strongman whom his supporters fondly address as ‘Bapu’, said: “I am not going to join BJP. I will not join any political party”.
He, however, said he was not going to retire from politics, triggering speculation he may float his own party and then cobble together an anti-Congress, anti-BJP front ahead of the Assembly elections likely in November or December.
“Today, I free myself from Congress and I set Congress free,” he said.
Vaghela’s decision to quit the Congress is a cause of concern for the party, which has been out of power in the state for close to two decades. He enjoys considerable support in North Gujarat. PTI