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Gujarat Congress wary of Shankersinh Vaghela's 'pressure tactics'

Vaghela has unfollowed some 30 Twitter handles, including that of Congress VP Rahul Gandhi

Vinay Umarji  |  Ahmedabad 

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Even as speculation is rife over veteran leader Shankersinh Vaghela's probable shift to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after he 'unfollowed' and others on social media, the local leadership is wary of his "pressure tactics".

On Sunday, Vaghela unfollowed 30 handles, including those of Rahul Gandhi, Ahmed Patel and Bharatsinh Solanki, apart from skipping the party's IT cell meet. Vaghela could not be contacted despite several attempts. 

However, according to sources in the Gujarat Congress, Vaghela's move is aimed at arm-twisting the party to grant him exclusive rights over the state leadership ahead of the Assembly elections.

"These are mere pressure tactics. He is putting pressure on the high command to set him exclusively at the helm of affairs in the selection of candidates and other decisions in the state. At a time when there has not been much movement on the ground (ahead of the elections), this is worrisome," said party sources.

When contacted, Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president Bharatsinh Solanki said that party leaders were meeting Vaghela on Tuesday and more clarity would emerge then. "He has said that he does not wish to join the Things will be more clear when we meet him tomorrow," he said. 

Rumours have been rife over Vaghela's shift to the in the wake of the Congress high command's refusal to announce a chief ministerial candidate for the Gujarat elections. However, so far, Vaghela has been publicly denying any such ambitions. Earlier on Sunday, Vaghela had told media persons in Bayad town of Aravalli district that it did not matter if he contested for the Assembly or the parliamentary elections. 

Party sources have also alluded to further disunity among the top leadership in the state amid a lack of "real ground work" as part of Congress' preparations for the upcoming state Assembly elections in Gujarat. 

"Everybody (in the local leadership) agrees that nothing is going on in terms of ground work ahead of elections and that he (Vaghela) should not be given helm of affairs," sources further stated. 

With Inputs from Sohini Das