The proposed formation of a new party by the former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel has been delayed.
While announcing his resignation from the BJP on Saturday, Mr. Patel said he would convene a media conference on Sunday to announce the formation of the new party. However, late in the night, another message was sent to mediapersons that the news conference would be held on Monday.
Sources close to Mr. Patel said the delay was caused by differences over the nomenclature of the new outfit among the senior leaders, who have either resigned from the BJP or will quit it later and join the new party.
Some of the old RSS and BJP leaders are learnt to be in favour of reviving the previous avatar of the BJP, the Jana Sangh, of which Mr. Patel was one of the founder-leaders. But younger groups are opposed to the idea on the ground that it would not be acceptable to non-RSS cadres and would lead to division of anti-Narendra Modi votes in the Assembly elections.
Meanwhile, efforts are on to woo another former Chief Minister and Mr. Modi’s arch-enemy, Shankarsinh Vaghela, to leave the Congress and join the new party. Mr. Vaghela is credited with laying the foundation for the Jana Sangh, and later the BJP, in the State along with Mr. Patel. He left the BJP following differences with Mr. Modi and formed his own party, which later merged with the Congress about a decade ago.
Taking note of Mr. Vaghela’s dissatisfaction as he was being “ignored,” the Congress high command this time appointed him chief campaign manager for the Assembly elections. Sources close to Mr. Vaghela, however, said he was happy in the Congress and had no intention of joining Mr. Patel’s party.