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Vaghela feigns innocence over Gujarat Congress crisis

By Ians

Ahmedabad, July 29: Rebel Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela claimed that he had no role to play in the exit of exit of half a dozen Congress party legislators during the last two days.

"I am Congress mukt (free) and have freed the party of me. These MLAs indeed called me seeking my advice but I never told them to resign and join anywhere," Vaghela, who quit as Leader of Opposition on his 77th birthday on July 21, said.

"I will resign as a legislator after the Rajya Sabha elections (on August 8). My vote, as I have said earlier too, is reserved for Ahmed bhai (Patel)," he added.

Vaghela, or Bapu as he is popularly known because of his Kshatriya credentials, was on a tour of the flood-affected areas of north Gujarat, to which he belongs.

He told local Gujarati TV channels: "The MLAs called me seeking my advice. I told them I had nothing to do with the Congress party and they could abide by their own conscience and don't involve me in all this."

The veteran leader had engineered a revolt in the ruling BJP's first government in Gujarat in September 1995 and subsequently quit to launch his own dispensation Rashtriya Janata Party, which later merged with the Congress given that a third front has never worked in the bi-polar polity of the State. As it is now with the Congress, even then his key grouse was that he was not given his due when it came to reap the dividends of his hard work.


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