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Former Gujarat CM's Son Mahendrasinh Vaghela Joins BJP, Says Impressed by PM Modi's Vision

The political development is being seen as another step by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah to strengthen the party’s prospects in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Meghdoot Sharon | CNN-News18

Updated:July 14, 2018, 5:22 PM IST
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Former Gujarat CM's Son Mahendrasinh Vaghela Joins BJP, Says Impressed by PM Modi's Vision
Mahendrasinh Vaghela being welcomed into the BJP on Saturday. (Twitter/Jitu Vaghani)
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Ahmedabad: Mahendrasinh Vaghela, son of former Gujarat chief minister and Union minister Shankersinh Vaghela, joined the BJP on Saturday in a big boost for the saffron party’s prospects ahead of the 2019 elections.

Mahendrasinh was one of the 13 Congress MLAs who rebelled against the leadership ahead of the 2017 assembly elections and cross-voted during the presidential elections and the Rajya Sabha polls that saw Ahmed Patel get elected to the Upper House by a narrow margin.

Junior Vaghela, who won the 2012 assembly election from the Bayad constituency in Sabarkantha district of north Gujarat on a Congress ticket, quit before the assembly elections and did not contest the 2017 state polls. Although Mahendrasinh does not have a significant political clout, his father’s legacy and popularity have aided him.

The political development is being seen as another step by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah to strengthen the party’s prospects in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Last week, senior Congress leader Kunvarji Bavaliya quit the party, only to be made a minister in the BJP government the same day. While Bavaliya commands the allegiance of a huge chunk of the OBC votes of Saurashtra, Mahendrasinh — owing to his father’s popularity — enjoys the support of the OBC community in north and central Gujarat.

Speaking to the media, state BJP president Jitu Vaghani said, “Mahendrasinh Shankersinh Vaghela has joined the BJP today. We welcome him and are confident that he will work towards further strengthening the party in the state.”

On his part, Mahendrasinh said he decided to join the BJP as he was impressed with the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Modi’s vision for the country is what has drawn me to the BJP. I, along with my supporters, will work for the BJP and PM Modi. So far as I am concerned, I am willing to take up any responsibility that the party gives me.”

When asked if his father too would follow in his footsteps and join the saffron party, he said, “That is for him to decide. He is an institution in himself. His experience in politics and public life is as old as me.”

Later in the day, Shankersinh Vaghela sought to distance himself from his son’s political move. “I have never meant to damage either the Congress or the BJP. As far as Mahendrasinh is concerned, he has made a decision to join the BJP and that is his decision. He did not consult me while taking the call.”

He added that he quit the Congress because his self-esteem was at stake. Talking about his son, he said: “There must be some pressure on him from the BJP. If he continues with his decision to join that party, political relations between us will cease to exist.”

Senior Vaghela said before switching political loyalties, a leader should take his supporters into confidence and his son should have done the same. “I plan to call a meeting of my supporters over the issue by the end of next week. I will definitely remain active in politics as the Lok Sabha election is approaching,” he said.

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