V C Shukla keen to remain active in national politics

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Raipur, Oct 6 (UNI) Former union minister V C Shukla, who returned to Congress-fold after a gap of four years, today said he was keen to remain active in national politics.

''I am keen on continuing in national politics where I have been active since 1957,'' the septugenarian leader told a press conference here.

Mr Shukla, who had deserted the Congress to join the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in April 2003, said he had quit Congress as he was disillusioned with the functioning of the party organisation and the then government in Chhattisgarh.

''I had no grievance whatsoever neither with the Congress high command nor with any central leaders'', he said, adding he returned to the Congress-fold again in the changed circumstances.

Pointing out that his priority was to work to bring unity in the state Congress so that it could fight the coming elections as a cohesive force, Mr Shukla said anyone trying to create hurdles in the process would fall by the wayside.

Replying to a question, the former union minister said he had no differences with former chief minister Ajit Jogi and his efforts would be to take everyone along to strengthen the party in Chhattisgarh. ''The state Congress was planning a joint tour of all senior leaders. We will also invite Mr Jogi to participate in the programme'', he added.

Mr Shukla parried questions about the controversial case of murder of his close supporter and former NCP leader Ram Avatar Jaggi, in which former chief minister Ajit Jogi's son was an accused, saying that he would not like to offer any comment as the matter was pending in higher court.

''The trial court judge, in his judgement in the Jaggi murder case, had made few references about me. I felt that it was not proper hence filed a petition in the high court seeking to expunge these references'', Mr Shukla added.

UNI

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