Shankersinh Vaghela announces support for Jan Vikalp, says it will be an 'alternative force' in Gujarat

After days of speculation over former Congress party leader Shankersinh Vaghela and his political future, the veteran politician announced his support for a new front in Gujarat on Tuesday. Just days after ruling out the possibility of floating a new outfit, the maverick Congress leader extended his support to Jan Vikalp forum, a party formed by his supporters in Gujarat.

Vaghela is also likely to announce the launch of a political forum similar to the third front on 30 September, according to The Times of India. At a press conference, Vaghela said that the new front will not be a political party but "an alternative force" to garner public anger against the ruling BJP and the "ineffective" Congress party.

Vaghela also added that his approach to the front will be positive while adding, "I will not criticise Narenda Modi or Amit Shah, but will criticise the BJP government in the state. Similarly, I will not criticise Sonia either."

This development comes just days after Vaghela's supporters passed a resolution urging him to become active "in order to ease the pains of people of Gujarat who are facing many problems at present."

 Shankersinh Vaghela announces support for Jan Vikalp, says it will be an alternative force in Gujarat

File image of Shankersinh Vaghela. PTI

In July this year, Vaghela resigned as the Leader of Opposition in the Gujarat Assembly and sent his letter of resignation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

In his letter shared with the media, the former chief minister alleged that he was forced to take this "tough decision" as some Congress leaders were conspiring against him ahead of the Assembly polls, expected to be held in Gujarat in December.

Vaghela fell out with the Congress after the party reportedly refused to pay heed to his demands that he be declared the chief ministerial nominee and given a free hand in selecting the party candidates.

Before Vaghela announced his departure from Congress, there were reports that he had met NCP leader Praful Patel and may join a third front that JD(U) and NCP are trying to form in Gujarat. MLAs of Congress, NCP and JD(U) were also invited for his 77th birthday celebrations, where he announced his decision to quit the Congress party.

Patel had also said that his party is trying to emerge as a third option in Gujarat. "We are planning for not just 2017 polls, but beyond that too," he added. If Vaghela extends support to NCP and JD(U) alliance, it can turn out to be a formidable front that may cut into the vote bank of the Congress.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Sep 19, 2017 14:21:49 IST

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