Vaghela asks Congress to decide on him by Saturday

Gandhinagar, June 20  Top Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela, sulking for long over not being given a key role in the upcoming Gujarat assembly elections, on Tuesday held out a veiled threat to the party to firm up a decision about him by June 24 when he would make an announcement of his future course of action.

Known as ‘Bapu’ in the local political circles, the 78-year-old maverick leader has not been happy with the Congress leadership for not making him in-charge for the party in view of forthcoming assembly polls. Though, at the same time, he has been denying that he wanted to be declared the chief ministerial candidate.

Vaghela, whose differences with state Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki are public knowledge, is learnt to have conveyed several times to the party high command that he should be given the complete charge for the December elections if it wanted to take on the BJP when the Congress chances are brighter.

“I am not the one to hanker for chief ministership. I am the man who makes MLAs and MPs. I am not power hungry. I have already enjoyed all possible posts a politician can dream about. Now I do not want to become Chief Minister again, instead I would like to be the one who decides who would be MLAs.A My only goal is to see Congress return to power,” he declared at a crowded press conference here.

He said he would reveal his plans after paying obeisance to Lord Jagannath on June 24. Before that he would call a meeting of his supporters to take their suggestions on the future course of action.

There have been intense speculations and rumours for nearly six months now on whether he will quit the Congress, join his former party BJP, form a new political outfit as he did after quitting BJP in the past or quit politics. He denied all of it yet again on Tuesday and took a jibe at the media for helping spread the BJP canard about this.

To a barrage of questions, Vaghela said: “I never did anything which damaged the Congress after joining it in 1998. My only contention was the party has bright chance to win the forthcoming assembly polls. For the purpose proper preparations need to be done.”

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Gujarat Congress in-charge Ashok Gehlot and other senior Congress leaders have left no stone unturned to pacify his discontent over his role in the 2017 state assembly election but the stalemate has continued.

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