Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017: 36 out of 57 Congress MLAs reportedly in favour of Shankarsinh Vaghela as CM candidate

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Ahmedabad, April 21: At least 36 out of 57 Congress MLAs are reportedly in favour of Shankarsinh Vaghela to be projected as chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Gujarat assembly elections. Vaghela, the former Chief Minister, had earlier sidelined himself from the race of CM candidate, stating that his aim is only to “win the elections, not the CM post”. However, the reports of nearly two-third Congress’ legislature party backing him, has prompted Vaghela to offer a more nuanced response. “It is for the Congress leadership to decide,” he said.Manish Doshi, the Congress’ spokesperson for Gujarat, claimed that nearly 36 MLAs of the party have appealed Gurudas Kamat, the AICC in-charge of Gujarat, to announce Vaghela as the CM candidate of the party. The legislators appear firm that Vaghela may end up emerging as the tallest leader in Gujarat, in the absence of Narendra Modi.

Doshi, while speaking to Live Mint, confirmed that Kamat has agreed to raise the demand of Vaghela being projected as CM candidate before the party high command.

According to reports, Congress is looking to avail the expertise of key poll strategist Prashant Kishor in Gujarat. Kishor’s campaign in Punjab for Capt Amarinder Singh played an influential role with the party coming to power in the panthic state after 10 years.

Similar to Capt Amarinder, Vaghela remains a credible leader of Gujarat whose personality cult could be created by the marketing team of Prashant Kishor, experts opine. Before the duo of Keshubhai Patel and Narendra Modi stormed the politics of Gujarat, Vaghela remained the centrifugal point of Gujarat politics.

Vaghela, hailing from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), was part of BJP since his early days in Gujarat politics. He finally quit the party in 1995, owing to differences with Keshubhai Patel. In 1996, he formed his own Rashtriya Janata Party and succeeded in capturing the Chief Ministerial post, with support from Congress.

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