Other States

Gujarat Congress heading for a split

Shankarsinh Vaghela. File

Shankarsinh Vaghela. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

BJP president Amit Shah is in direct talks with senior Congress leaders.

With six months to go for the Assembly elections in Gujarat, the ruling BJP, which has set itself a target of winning 150 out of 182 seats, is likely to succeed in breaking the faction-ridden Congress.

Almost a dozen senior leaders, including several MLAs, are likely to join the saffron party.

Severe infighting among senior leaders in the Gujarat Congress has provided the BJP an opportunity to poach MLAs who are upset with the party’s leadership for not “giving them their due.”

“We can’t perpetually be dictated to by a coterie who have no base and can win even municipal election,” a senior Congress legislator told The Hindu, admitting that “he and others are in talks with BJP for a possible switchover.”

According to top sources involved in the operation , BJP president Amit Shah and party general secretary in charge of the State Bhupendra Yadav are directly negotiating with Congress leaders and the defections are likely to take place this month.

“The BJP leadership has decided to break the Opposition party with some of its top grass roots leaders set to join us,” a senior leader involved in the process told The Hindu. He claimed that “Congress leaders close to Shankarsinh Vaghela will shortly join the BJP.”

With the Congress central leadership having rejected Mr Vaghela’s demand that he be projected as the chief minister candidate, the senior leader made no efforts to hide his unhappiness.

He has avoided meeting party leaders to discuss poll strategy and on Monday skipped a crucial meeting with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on poll preparations.

Congress leaders most likely to cross over to the BJP are Mr Vaghela, presently Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly; his MLA son Mahendrasinh Vaghela, senior legislator and industrialist Balwantsinh Rajput, Godhara MLA and former minister C.K. Raolji.

The ruling party is focusing on attracting Opposition leaders in districts like Godhara, Jamnagar, Sabarkantha and Kheda where its prospects are weak.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 12:41:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/gujarat-congress-heading-for-a-split/article18724942.ece

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