Speculation is rife that senior Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela is quitting the party after his name did not appear on the chief ministerial candidates’ list for the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls. And, just a day after unfollowing Congress VP Rahul Gandhi on Twitter, Vaghela has suddenly gone on a five-day leave of absence from May 16. As per an Indian Express report, Vaghela had informed the state party chief Bharatsinh Solanki of his intention to take leave till May 21 (Sunday). However, the report quoted state party spokesperson Manish Doshi saying that he was not aware of any such letter from Vaghela.
Vaghela’s political secretary Nikhil Desai confirmed that the former chief minister had gone for a five-day leave. Speaking to Indian Express, Desai said, “He has gone out of the state for personal work for a few days. He will return on Sunday.”
Desai also stated that he is not aware where Vaghela had gone. Recently, Vaghela was in the news for unfollowing many Congress leaders including Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Twitter. Vaghela also deleted all the tweets he had posted against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which hinted that he might leave the Congress. However, the Congress leader had denied that he is thinking of leaving the party.
Just before going on leave, Vaghela, while speaking to ANI said, “Kisne hawa chalaayi? Maine kaha? Amit Shah saamne milne aaye the, mai Congress mein active hoon. (Who spread this rumour? Did I say? Amit Shah just came to meet me. I am still active in Congress).”
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Taking a dig at the ongoing rift within the Congress, BJP state spokesperson Bharat Pandya told Ahmedabad Mirror, “This incident proves that Congress’ leadership is not able enough to be followed. Specially, a leader like Rahul Gandhi who made the party lose 28 elections.”
As per a PTI report earlier this month, hoardings declaring Vaghela as the next chief ministerial candidate were put up in Vadodara. The hoardings, put up by unidentified people at some places in Vadodara, carried a photo of the Leader of Opposition with the text saying, ‘Be it the BJP or the Congress, it will be Bapu’s government in 2017.’ When asked about the hoardings, Vaghela, who is also known as Bapu, had said that the BJP could be behind the act.