Gujarat Plot Gone Wrong, Vaghela's Political Future Hangs in Balance
When asked about what the future holds for him, Vaghela quipped cryptically that public life does not necessarily mean political life.
File photo of Shankersinh Vaghela. (Photo: Getty Images)
Ahmedabad: Perhaps for the first time in 20 years, Shankersinh Vaghela’s political calculations have gone completely wrong and he finds himself in a situation he did not envision. His declaration that he did not vote for Ahmed Patel in the Rajya Sabha election because the Congress candidate did not stand a chance of winning, backfired badly. Even without his support, Patel managed to eke out a win.
The Congress, on its part, did not make any effort to reach out to the veteran leader or any of his loyalists ahead of the polls for their votes even as their numbers in Gujarat dwindled. Now, most importantly, Bapu as he is fondly known in the political circles, does not have a party.
On Thursday, Vaghela appeared resolute and quipped in a matter-of-fact tone, “Public life does not necessarily mean political life,” when asked about what the future holds for him. While he has staunchly denied all murmurs of joining the BJP, the flock of MLAs who stood by him, are likely to get accommodated in the party.
A few of them have already switched over to the BJP. Others including Vaghela’s son Mahendrasinh, will do so soon. “It is now up to the BJP to ensure that the Congress MLAs who cross-voted and those who resigned before the elections, are taken care of,” said Vaghela.
Political observers say Amit Shah’s grand plan to completely vanquish the Congress in Gujarat in December has received a jolt after Ahmed Patel’s win in the Rajya Sabha election. Observers believe Vaghela’s rebellion, cross-voting in the presidential election and Ahmed Patel’s defeat would have been an ideal situation for the BJP to head into the Assembly election and realise its target of 150 seats.
Vaghela though, continues to blame the Congress high command for the situation. “Both the BJP and the Congress had adequate numbers to send their respective candidates to the upper house. Rajya Sabha elections happened only because of the Congress. A couple of months before the elections, as many as 36 Congress MLAs had informed Ashok Gehlot that they were not happy with the leadership,” Vaghela said.
He added that had the Congress not taken its MLAs to resorts in Karnataka and Anand, as many as 30 MLAs would have quit.
Regarding his political future, the only option for the veteran leader is the BJP. But he has categorically stated several times that he will not join the BJP again. Could it be that he has something bigger in store in the future? Even a Governor’s post? Time will tell.
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