Shankersinh Vaghela quits politics after being expelled from Congress
Gandhinagar: Announcing his retirement from active politics, Gujarat Congress party leader Shankersinh Vaghela on Friday said the party high command had expelled him, but stressed he was not going to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Addressing a gathering here on his 77th birthday, Vaghela also said he will resign as Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly and quit as MLA after the Rajya Sabha election on August 8.
He claimed he was a victim of intra-party conspiracy, due to which the party had shown him the door.
He said the party did not even wait to hear what he would say at Friday's event before taking the decision to throw him out. Vaghela termed it a case of "vinashkale vipareet budhdhi".
Appealing to his supporters, he said that the "final high command" are the people.
"It is my destiny (being expelled), but I am not the one to retire. Bapus never retire. Fighting against injustice is my nature, even if it means losing everything in the process," he said.
"I became a victim of intra-party conspiracy, be it BJP, be it Congress.
"Sacking someone may satisfy your ego, but nothing beyond that. Behave like a statesman, not a politician," he said.
"There was a conspiracy to get me expelled. I told Rahul Gandhi about this, he said this must be to accommodate someone else.
"I had told Soniaji mein aapka bharosa nahi todunga (I will not break your trust). I went to meet her, told her thanks a lot Madam for everything. I may not remain with the party after sometime but don't worry I am not going anywhere. I am not joining BJP," Vaghela said.
"I am going to resign today as Leader of Opposition. I am a free bird, I am relieving the Congress of me, and I release myself from the Congress," he told his supporters.
On Thursday evening, the Gujarat Congress issued a warning to Vaghela not to "play any politics" under the guise of his birthday celebrations with his supporters and legislators.
He was also told that his public utterances would not be tolerated by the party any further.
The maverick Vaghela, who had snapped ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party in the late nineties to set up his own party that later merged with the Congress, has been telling the party high command to hand over reins of the December election battle to him.