The Gujarat Congress has called a high-level meeting of its core committee members on Tuesday to discuss the issue of Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Assembly, after veteran leader Shankersinh Vaghela quit the grand old party. As per the reports, the party would pass a resolution empowering the Congress high command to decide the next LoP, as Monsoon Session is expected to be held in October, barely months before the Assembly polls, expected to be held in December, said senior Congress MLA Shailesh Parmar.
Till the new LoP is decided by the party high command, senior Congress MLA Mohansinh Rathwa, who is already serving as the deputy LoP, has been given the charge of LoP, said Parmar. Rathwa, a tribal leader, is an eight-time MLA who represents Chhota Udepur seat. “As our LoP Shankersinh Vaghela has resigned from the post, senior MLA and Deputy LoP Mohansinh Rathwa has been given the charge till the new LoP take over” Parmar told.
“We have called a meeting of our core committee members tomorrow to discuss the issue of LoP. In that meet, we will pass a resolution to hand over the powers of deciding the next LoP to the high command. The state unit will accept whatever decision the high command takes about LoP,” said Parmar.
Since it is mandatory to call the Assembly session within six months of the completion of previous session, it is likely that the next Monsoon session will be called in September or October, as the previous Budget session ended in March this year, he said. “If Assembly polls are declared earlier, the state government may not call the Monsoon session in September-October. If polls are declared in December, than the House may meet” he added. Vaghela, who had announced to quit the Congress three days ago, resigned as the LoP and sent his resignation letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday.
The resignation letter which was sent to party president Sonia Gandhi clearly mentioned that Vaghela was forced to take this ‘tough decision’ as some Congress leaders were conspiring against him ahead of the Assembly polls, expected to be held in Gujarat in December. Vaghela had thanked Gandhi for making him Union minister in the UPA-1 government in the letter. Venting his anger on the Congress, Vaghela claimed he was left with no other option but to resign as his suggestions for the upcoming Assembly polls were not accepted.
“As I can see right now that once again history is repeating itself, as a well-planned conspiracy within the party is at work for ousting me during the forthcoming elections. Hence, I strongly feel that I should not remain in the party at the cost of my dignity and self-respect,” he said in the letter. However, the Congress has asserted that it did not take any action against Vaghela and that the senior leader took a decision on his own accord. Vaghela had been at loggerheads with the Congress leadership for quite some. Last year in June, the former Gujarat chief minister lashed out at the Congress Party for lack of preparedness to fight the 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections.