Ahmedabad, July 14: Hours after his son joined the BJP, former Leader of Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela warned him that he should quit the saffron party within a week, else he would sever all political ties with him.
“I am not happy with the way Mahendrasinh joined the BJP. He should have consulted his supporters. I give him a deadline of one week to do that and quit the saffron party if the consensus is against his decision. Otherwise I will severe all my political ties with him,” said the former Chief Minister.
Vaghela said he was aware about the move two-three days ago. “Mahendra had told me that BJP chief Amit Shah had been nudging him to join the BJP. I told him that he should first think of his supporters,” said Shankersinh. He said he was surprised that Mahendrasinh switched over without informing anyone in the party.
Mahendrasinh, a former Congress legislator from Bayad in central Gujarat, had won the 2012 Assembly polls. But he quit the party before the Rajya Sabha elections in 2017 along with his father and 13 other legislators. Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel,the party nominee for the seat, had barely scraped through due to cross-voting by the rebel MLAs.
Vaghela Jr. was expected to join the BJP before the 2017 Assembly elections,
but he stayed away from contesting as his father led a little-known outfit, Jan Vikalp Morcha. Despite the Morcha contesting over 105 seats, none of its candidates made it to the 182-member Assembly. Most of them even lost their
deposits. The Jan Vikalp Morcha is a non-entity now.
Talking about his next moves, Shankarsinh said he would call his party workers and decide. “I am in touch with non-BJP parties. Politically, I am active as general elections draw closer,” he said. On whether he was approached by any party, he said: “I have not received any offers. But I don’t take offers, I give offers.”
Both BJP and Congress have been poaching on each other in the recent months.
The announcement of Mahendrasinh joining saffron brigade was made by
BJP state president Jitu Vaghani on Saturday morning, at the inauguration of a two-day Youth Parliament held at Karnavati University, situated on the outskirts of Gandhinagar. The youth Parliament was attended by BJP President Amit Shah, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, his deputy Nitin Patel and several other senior leaders.