Vaghela lashes out at party leadership, says not willing to 'fall in the ditch'

Vaghela lashes out at party leadership, says not willing to 'fall in the ditch'

Senior Gujarat Congress leader and former chief minister Shankarsinh Vaghela on Saturday lashed out at his own party and its high command, hinting at a possibility of a split in the Gujarat Congress in the year state is set to host Assembly polls.

“Just because we are tied to you does it mean that we have to agree with everything. Even if you are wrong, do we have to keep quiet? My anger with Delhi High Command is also that. I can clearly see that party can win in Gandhinagar but you neither want to prepare nor let anyone prepare...It appears that you have taken supari from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP),” Vaghela said in his speech to his 1500-odd supporters who had gathered in large numbers in Gandhinagar at his invite.

Vaghela rued the fact that Congress was yet to do homework and select candidates for the forthcoming polls in the state. He said that despite him insisting on this for over a year, no one in the party appears to be prepared to listen. “If Congress has decided to commit suicide then I am not prepared to fall in the ditch with them,” Vaghela told his supporters.

He went on to say that he would now take a decision on staying in
the party as per the advice from his supporters. “In 2002 I had promised Congress President Sonia Gandhi that I would always be loyal to the party but now that promise has ended. I have informed Sonia ji about this a few days ago,” he said.

He also rued the fact that many in Congress were trying to shove him out of the party. “I conveyed the feelings that there are some who want to push me out of the party (Congress) to Rahul Gandhi and he agreed (that this is true),” he said.

Throughout his speech, he continued to maintain that Congress had a great chance of coming back to power due to resentment amongst many communities in the state, including Patels. “You were demoralized after Uttar Pradesh. We were demoralized...Parties can lose elections. If you do not have sportsman spirit then you should not be in electoral politics. You have to get up and fight,” he added.

Vaghela also said that this would be his last political battle before he hangs his boots. “This election is my last politics,” he said.

Though no senior Congress leaders were available to comment on the verbal lashing by Vaghela, party spokesperson Manish Doshi said that what Vaghela spoke were his suggestions on how to improve party’s standing in the state. “He gave guidance on ways to highlight wrongdoings of BJP in the state and ways to strengthen Congress in the state,” Doshi said.

On future course of action, Vaghela said that he would visit Delhi in the first week of July to meet Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi “to convey the feelings of Congressmen gathered here. We will take a call after that,” he added.

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