Vaghela, who parted ways with BJP in the late 90s and later joined Congress, said this while reacting to a recent remark by Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, who reportedly said at a BJP party internal meeting that Vaghela would have been Gujarat chief minister now if he was in BJP.
“I agree with her (Patel). If I had chosen to be in BJP, sir (Modi) may not have become the prime minister and Patel our (Gujarat) chief minister,” Vaghela told reporters in Gandhinagar.
“But I am not in public life for power. It comes and goes,” he added.
“Actually, Patel wanted to say that those who have left BJP are not in good position now. But, I want to tell her that I was made the state Congress president having all the powers when I joined the party.
“I was then made a senior cabinet minister in the previous UPA government without any lobbying,” Vaghela, who is the Leader of Opposition in the Gujarat Assembly, said.
Vaghela due to his difference with Modi and another leader Keshubhai Patel had forced a split in the Gujarat BJP in the late 90s.
After it, he had formed Rashtritya Janata Party and became Gujarat CM in 1996. Later he joined Congress.
“Congress gave me all the freedom to contest polls from whichever seat I wanted to. They also made me the LoP in the Assembly. This party took great care of me and all those who joined Congress in the past,” he added.
Commenting on the ongoing agitation by the Patel community demanding reservation under OBC quota, Vaghela said that the state government should immediately clear its stand.
“All the state ministers are trying hard to project themselves as neutral to save their skin. Instead of shying away from the issue, the state government and BJP should clear their stand and hold talks with Patel leaders,” the former Union Minister said.
He also accused the Gujarat government of not helping the victims of floods in Saurashtra and north Gujarat regions.
“People of Amreli, Banaskantha and Patan are still waiting for government help after the floods caused large-scale devastation. Instead of helping them, this BJP government is busy in organising ‘Garib Kalyan Melas’,” he alleged.