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Vaghela Losing Ground Within His Party


Gujarat Chief Minister Shankersinh Vaghela appears to be losing ground within his own MJP (Maha Gujarat Janata Party), according to his close associates who have turned against him in the recent past. A strong anti-Vaghela group within the MJP is now closely working with the Congress Party leadership to force Vaghela make way for his colleague Atmaram Patel.

A large number of Vaghelas earstwhile close associates have openly levelled charges against the chief minister. Some of them have even resigned from their plum positions as chairmen of various State-owned corporations after charging the with corruption.

Gujarat State Fertilizer and Chemicals Ltd chairman Kanaksinh Mangrola set the ball rolling when he resigned after levelling serious charges against the chief minister. Mangrola has been considered one of the staunchest supporters of Vaghela.

Mangrolas resignation has now been followed up with the resignation of Chandansingh Champavat from the chairmanship of Gujarat Handicrafts Development Corporation. Like Mangrola, Champavat was also known to be a member of Vaghelas coterie.

Then, Hari Singh Chavda resigned from the chairmanship of the States water supply corporation.

The latest case of political resignation is that of yesterday.

The Khaira district Panchayat president Mukesh Shukla resigned yesterday after making serious charges against the chief minister.

One of the leaders who has resigned after falling out with the chief minister, said that there were more resignations to follow. This MJP functionary claimed that the overwhelming majority in the MJP had turned against Vaghela, except four or five who remained loyal to the chief minister.

Meanwhile, a decision on the issue of withdrawal of support to the Vaghela government in Gujarat could be delayed with Congress president Sitaram Kesri yesterday making it clear that it was not on the agenda of the party working committee scheduled for September 27.

Informally talking to reporters he said the issue is not on the CWC agenda. Kesris statement came even as senior Gujarat leaders including the PCC president CD Patel and former Chief Minister Chabildas Mehta sought to impress upon the high command to take an early decision in the matter. The Gujarat Governor, Krishna Pal Singh, who arrived here yesterday had a meeting with Union home minister Indrajit Gupta apparently to brief him of the present political situation in the state.

This is the second visit of the Governor to the capital after a team of AICC observers led by Pranab Mukherjee visited Gandhinagar to study the political situation in the wake of demands by a large section of partymen to withdraw support to the minority Shankersinh Vaghela government. During his last visit, the Governor had meetings with senior Congress leaders including Kesri, Mukherjee and Rao.

First Published: Fri, September 26 1997. 00:00 IST