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Out of Congress, Vaghela, 77, declares himself Gujarat CM candidate of new non-party outfit, claims "wide" support

By Our Representative
On being ousted from the Congress for voting for BJP candidates for the Rajya Sabha Amit Shah and Balwantsinh Rajput, former Leader of Opposition Shankarsinh Vaghela, aged 77, has suddenly found that there is something fundamentally wrong with the Indian party system, and it has befallen upon him to reform it.
Addressing a crowded media conference, in which there were large number of his supporters, who were more than eager to take selfies of a politician who once was Gujarat BJP chief, Vaghela said, whether it was the BJP or the Congress, both depend on every decision on their respective high commands.
"Quite unlike the US, where primaries at the local level elect the presidential candidate, and the process runs for full one year, here even candidates who want to fight assembly polls are decided by the High Command. I want to end this undemocratic system", Vaghela, who talked with media persons in a VVIP government guest house, declared.
And how is he going to go about it? Vaghela, whose nine supporter MLAs have crossed over from the Congress to the BJP ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls, said, "I have decided not to form any party. Instead, I have decided to form a non-party political organization, Jan Vikalp, which would put up candidates that would be selected democratically, at the local level."
Ironically, despite the talk of democratizing the party political system, Vaghela declared himself as the chief ministerial candidate of his non-party political outfit. Reason? "We sponsored an online survey, which said that majority of people in Gujarat favour me as the chief minister of the state."
Asked to provide details of the survey, especially the percentage of other possible chief ministerial candidates supported by those surveyed, and who carried out the survey, Vaghela named a person, who, when traced, "slipped out" of the media conference. Even his closest supporters couldn't find him despite their "frantic effort."
Scotching rumours that he would join the BJP, Vaghela predicted, "Neither the BJP nor the Congress would win the forthcoming Gujarat assembly polls. Our survey clearly says this." Asked whether it would be a third front, an experiment that hasn't ever succeeded in Gujarat, Vaghela said, "It will succeed, it has succeeded in most other Indian states."
Asked whether he would tie up with the Aam Aadmi Party, which wants to fight the forthcoming Gujarat polls, scheduled for December, overturning its earlier decision not to fight elections but defeat the BJP, Vaghela said, "We are open, we will support good candidates in other parties."
Despite a barrage of questions, which saw him perspiring, Vaghela couldn't identify the type of political setup his political outfit would have. When asked whether his supporters, who those who quit as Congress MLAs, would join him back, he said, "Why should they? They had negotiated with the BJP for quite some time."
One of the MLAs who quit the Congress to join the BJP, which hasn't yet accepted him, is Vaghela's son, Mahendrasinh Vaghela. When asked whether he would join the non-party outfit, Vaghela replied, "You can ask him".
Pointing out that the "positive agenda" of his new outfit, which included seeking jobs for youth and better working conditions for women, when asked what did he have to say about the now trending campaign in Gujarat, "Vikas gando thayo cche" (development has gone made), he said, "I don't want to comment on negative thoughts."
He added, "We are not going to criticise individuals, whether Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Sonia Gandhi or Ahmed Patel. We will only raise issues."

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