Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki today met his senior party colleague Shankersinh Vaghela at the latter’s residence and claimed there was no difference of opinion between them. Solanki, who returned here after meeting the Congress high command in Delhi, yesterday announced that tickets would be given to all the 57 sitting MLAs of the party for the Gujarat Assembly polls due later this year. Vaghela had recently ‘unfollowed’ Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and some other party colleagues on social media website Twitter, triggering speculation that he may leave the main Opposition party and join the BJP, his former outfit. However, the former chief minister later scotched such rumours. He claimed his act of “unfollowing” Congress leaders on the social networking site was aimed at preventing the “spread of false messages and speculation” about him. After meeting Vaghela in Gandhinagar today, Solanki said he apprised his colleague of what he had discussed with the party top brass in Delhi. When asked about Vaghela’s rumoured unhappiness over the sudden announcement of repeating candidates, Solanki said he did not get any such feeling from Vaghela’s side. “I have not noticed any such unhappiness during our meeting today. We had a very good talk over tea. There is absolutely no problem between us,” the state party chief told reporters.
“Vaghela is the Leader of Opposition in the Gujarat Assembly, while I am the state party president. Thus, we both are working to strengthen the party and ensure our victory in the next election,” Solanki said. Vaghela had also last month dismissed rumours of differences with Solanki. “I never had any problem with Solanki. We are all part of a team. I do not have any difference of opinion with Solanki,” he had said. The Congress is out of power in the state for the last 22 years.
At present, of the total 182 seats in the Assembly, the BJP has 122 seats. Solanki exuded confidence the Congress will win more than 123 seats this time and come to power with a two-thirds majority. Earlier, there was a demand by a section of the state unit of Congress to declare Vaghela as the chief ministerial candidate. Posters were also put up in various cities of the state demanding the party veteran be projected as the CM face. However, the repeated demand from Vaghela’s supporters did not cut ice with the party high command which made it clear that it will not name anyone for the top post before the polls.