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Shankarsinh Vaghela Quits Congress Shortly After Vowing Revolt at Birthday Rally

Former chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela, fondly known as 'Bapu’, was said to be unhappy with his party over not having been given a free hand for the party's campaign for the Gujarat assembly election due later this year.

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Updated:July 21, 2017, 5:29 PM IST
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Shankarsinh Vaghela Quits Congress Shortly After Vowing Revolt at Birthday Rally
File photo of Shankarsinh Vaghela. (PTI)

Gandhinagar: Leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly Shankersinh Vaghela resigned from the Congress party shortly after claiming at a birthday rally on Friday that he had been removed.

Vaghela, who was said to be unhappy with the party’s planning for assembly elections later this year, said he would quit as MLA too.

“I am freeing myself of the Congress and every other party. I will not join any political party. I will quit as Leader of Opposition today. I will quit as MLA in the next sitting. To all my supporters and MLAs who are backing me, please do what you deem fit. I am no longer in any position,” he told supporters at his 77th birthday celebrations.

At the beginning of his address, he had said the Congress had removed him on Thursday. “My party has shown me the door.... I share my name with Lord Shankar. I, too, can digest poison. I am 77 not out. I am not quitting.... Revolt is in my blood. I don't care what loss I have to bear. I cannot see injustice happening."

“After working for sevadal in the ’60s, I came in contact with RSS people. They were very good. They taught me how public life should be,” Vaghela said at the function in Gandhinagar.

Former chief minister Vaghela, fondly known as 'Bapu’, was said to be unhappy with his party over not having been given a free hand for the party's campaign for the state assembly election due later this year.

He had earlier slammed the state Congress over "lack of homework" for the assembly polls.

Vaghela’s move comes in the wake of cross-voting in BJP-majority Gujarat Assembly during the presidential elections. At least eight MLAs of the opposition Congress appeared to have voted for NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind over UPA candidate Meira Kumar.

On June 24, while addressing a meeting of his supporters in Gandhinagar, Vaghela had said he would not follow the Congress leadership if it continued on its present “suicidal path” in Gujarat.

"My problem with the party is they have done no planning to win Gujarat elections, when we know that it (elections) won't be delayed for even a month. Owners lack the foresight. They do not know what is going to happen tomorrow," he had said.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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