Congress banks upon BJP dissidents for victory in Gujarat polls

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New Delhi, Oct 12 (UNI) Hoping to gain from the pronounced dissidence in the ruling state BJP in the coming assembly election in Gujarat, the Congress is planning to induct dissidents in the party shortly after a discussion by a team of six leaders, three each from both sides.

Union Textiles Minister and senior Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela today said dissidents from the BJP from Gujarat have approached his party for joining them. Those anxious to join Congress included expelled members from the BJP or who had voluntarily left the party.

''No decision has sofar been taken on the proposal of the dissidents for joining the Congress as three senior members each from both sides will hold discussions to reach agreement on who should be inducted in the party,'' said Mr Vaghela at a Meet-the-Press programme organised by the Press Club of India here.

According to sources, the backdoor discussions between the BJP dissident leaders from Gujarat and Congress leadership are already underway in the capital.

On being asked whether this move will help the Congress in the elections, Mr Vaghela said it would certainly do.

Mr Vaghela sees a direct fight between the Congress and the BJP in the state with minimal role of other political combinations.

''There is direct fight between the Congress and the BJP in the State and no other political party matters much there'', he said.

He was not much critical of election schedule of conducting the polls in two phases in December. However, he added that election process in Gujarat should have been completed in a single phase.

Mr Vaghela said Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) which stood firmly behind BJP earlier, had now no longer a stanch supporter of it. And, this development, too, would help Congress.

Without naming Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi who had vehemently raised the Ram Sethu issue, Mr Vaghela said ''the political people should not indulge in religious issues".

Despite the tall claims of big development in Gujarat by the BJP government, only meagre work had been taken up on the ground, Mr Vaghela said, adding that of the 75,000 km long water channels, only 5000 kms had sofar been constructed in the state. Of the promised generation of 6000 MW of power, only 400 MW had sofar been added to power system.

On the question of roping in Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi for canvassing in the state, Mr Vaghela said ''AICC will decide whom to send for electioneering in Gujarat''.

UNI

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