By Yogesh Sharma
Shankarsinh Vaghela who recently quit Congress and launched his own party Janvikalp this week started a statewide awareness campaign on the first day of Navratri today. In the next 12 days Shankarsinh will tour the state as Gujarat is going for Assembly elections in December. He plans to field candidates on all 182 seats.
In this week hundreds of huge hoardings have come up on major roads of the state which say that people of Gujarat want Shankarsinh Vaghela in place of Congress and BJP. In Gujarat BJP is ruling for the last 22 years while Congress is in Opposition. Shankarsinh who had engineered a revolt in the BJP in 1995 subsequently floated his own party Rashtriya Janata Party and became Chief Minister of Gujarat.
This time he led rebels in Congress who first voted against Congress candidate for the post of President of India and created grave crisis in the Rajya Sabha elections in which Congress leader Ahmed Patel managed to win by a razor thin margin. It was after a great drama of keeping 44 of the Congress MLAs away from Gujarat until election.
Though he claims that Janvikalp was floated by some young professionals and he was there to help them on their request as they had energy and enthusiasm but they lacked experience, it is a known fact in Gujarat politics that Janvikalp is a brainchild of Vaghela popularly known as Bapu. In a way after the RJP this is the second experiment of third front by Shankarsinh Vaghela.
Claiming that he had given best government in Gujarat, he says that the experiment failed because of the self interest of some Congress leaders who forced him to quit the post of Chief Minister of the government with Congress. At a press conference this week to announce his new venture, he said that it was a myth that third front was not possible in Gujarat.
Though, he reiterated that he would not contest elections in his one hour long media interaction, the way his statewide tour has been organized and the hoardings have put make his intention clear that he wants to be Chief Minister again. He has hundreds of his supporters going with him in the statewide campaign.
He described Congress a dead party and said that BJP would follow the same path as it had lost connectivity with people. He said emergence of AAP in Delhi was a good example of third alternative in the politics of Delhi dominated by Congress and BJP.
Vaghela who was leader of Congress Legislature Party recently quit Congress amidst controversy that he wanted to be declared as Congress candidate for the post of Chief Minister. While quitting Congress fortnight before the Rajya Sabha elections he had announced that he would not join any party, but he was not quitting politics.
He said that jan vikalp a group of young professionals had done a detailed survey of images of state leaders from Bharat Solanki of Congress to Jitu Vaghani of BJP and found that people found him (Vaghela) to be most suitable for the post of Chief Minister. In the same breath he said that these young professionals asked him to guide them as they energy and enthusiasm but they lacked experience of administration.
Vaghela said that Jan Vikalp would be a front of likeminded people committed to the cause of people. To a question Vaghela did not elaborate the results of the survey conducted by Jan Vikalp nor did he define parameters of likemindedness. He said unemployment, condition of women workers engaged in work like mid day meal and anganwadi were the major areas where people were feeling frustrated.
Saying “approach” of the front will be positive, he said, “I will not criticise Modi or Shah, but will criticise the BJP government in the state. Similarly, I will not criticise Sonia either.”
Vaghela, who had masterminded a revolt in Congress last month, said the people were fed up with the BJP and the Congress, and were desperate for an alternative.
No doubt, this former RSS leader has charismatic personality and excellent oratory skills which no other political leader in the state has. Will it be enough to take him to Gandhinagar? Many doubt. Congress dubs Janvikalp of Shankarsinh Vaghela B team of BJP. It has been brought into the field to divide Congress votes, says Ashok Gehlot in Charge Gujarat Congress.