Congress denies expelling Shankersinh Vaghela, says decision to quit was his own

After Gujarat Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela publicly announced his ouster from the party on Friday, claiming that he was shown the door "24 hours ago", the party has denied this accusation. A party spokesperson said Congress had no role in his departure, and he chose to quit of his own accord.

"No action was taken against Shankersingh Vaghelaji, nor was he expelled. These are baseless arguments. It's his decision," AICC communications chief Randeep S Surjewala told ANI.

Claiming that Vaghela wanted to replace the current Gujarat Congress chief, he said, "This is a decision
of the party and its leadership and no one individual can decide it."

"For the party is bigger than individuals. Each one of us needs to understand that interests of the party and its ideals are bigger then ambition of one person. We sincerely hope that he'll continue to work for the party despite his decision to quit party posts," he said.

Surjewala said that the Congress was not representative of individuals but ideology and principles. Party chief Sonia Gandhi, vice president Rahul Gandhi and crores of Congressmen and women are not fighting for power alone but for social justice, progress and a just, humane society against autocracy of the few, he said.

"We respect Shankarsinh Vaghela. The Congress has always given him respect and important positions of responsibility," he said.

Addressing a rally in Gandhinagar on his 77th birthday on Friday, Vaghela announced his plan to break ranks with the Congress, which he had joined two decades back after quitting the BJP. "I'm freeing myself from Congress or any party from now," he said.

He also announced that he would immediately resign as the leader of Opposition in the Gujarat Assembly and give up his membership of the House after the Rajya Sabha polls in the state scheduled for 8 August.

"To all my supporters and MLAs who are behind me... Do whatever you like... I'm no longer in any position," he told the gathering. He also added that he would not be joining any other political party.

Vaghela had allegedly unfollowed Rahul Gandhi's Twitter account recently.

According to a report on NDTV, Vaghela had held meeting with BJP chief Amit Shah. However, the rebel leader, during his speech, said that he assured Congress president Sonia Gandhi that he would not "break her trust by joining BJP".

With inputs from PTI


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Updated Date: Jul 24, 2017 06:34:14 IST