Former Gujarat chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela on Tuesday joined the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in presence of party chief Sharad Pawar. "Our democracy is under threat, the independence of our constitutional institutions is in jeopardy today," said Shankersinh Vaghela after joining the NCP. Earlier, the veteran politician said he took the decision after discussion with Sharad Pawar. "I have discussed this issue with Pawar Saheb. I think it is a good thing. In public life, a good platform is required to raise issues of people and nobody should say no to such things," he had said.
Ahmedabad: Former Chief Minister of Gujarat Shankersinh Vaghela joins Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in presence of party chief Sharad Pawar. pic.twitter.com/ey6O0mo9ig— ANI (@ANI) January 29, 2019
Vaghela had left the Congress before the 2017 Gujarat Assembly poll after he and a few MLAs supporting him voted against Congress candidate Ahmed Patel in the Rajya Sabha and backed BJP nominee Balwantsinh Rajput. The former chief minister, however, did not join the ruling BJP and put up independent candidates in the state Assembly elections held in December 2017. All his candidates had lost polls. Recently, Vaghela had toured various places, including Delhi, and declared that he will fight for the removal of the BJP-led government at the Centre in 2019.
78-year-old Vaghela is a prominent OBC leader, who started his political career with the BJP. After the BJP came to power in 1995 in Gujarat and chose to make Keshubhai Patel chief minister instead of him, Vaghela engineered a split in the party and became the CM in 1996 with outside support of the Congress.
Later, he joined the Congress and served as Textile Minister in the Manmohan Singh government. While in the Congress, he also served as its state unit president and Leader of Opposition in the Gujarat Assembly.