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All opposition parties must unite, engage BJP in 'one-to-one' battle: Vaghela

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Former Gujarat chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela Wednesday hit out at the Modi government over the Rafale deal and rising fuel price, and urged all opposition parties to unitedly take on the BJP in a "one-to-one" battle in the 2019 parliamentary election.

Asserting that the Lok Sabha polls will be a fight between "the PM of India vs the people of India", Vaghela told reporters here that though he was not with any party, but is extending "unconditional support" to all "anti-BJP" forces to defeat the saffron party in the election.

Asked about his political plans and whether he will contest the Lok Sabha polls, Vaghela said it was "too early to say" and he will let everyone know when the time comes.

Vaghela, who split from the Congress in July last year ahead of the assembly polls and formed the breakaway Jan Vikalp Morcha, said the forming of the Morcha was an election-oriented move.

Slamming the government over the Rafale issue, he said the Modi government came to power on the promise of transparency in governance, but has forgotten about it in the fighter jet deal issue.

He alleged that Anil Ambani's firm was "rewarded" at the expense of state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

"Now with just about six months left of his five-year term, I now present myself to seek 'account' on behalf of the people of Gujarat and India," the former Union minister said at a press conference here.

Vaghela also slammed the BJP for allegedly polarising the discourse for electoral gains, saying it was "distressing" to notice that popular attention was sought to be diverted from "total failure" of the Modi government on issues such as education, health, employment and soaring prices to issues such as "Gai (cow), Ganga, Dadri (lynching), Babri (mosque) and Love Jihad".

"When (the BJP was) in the Opposition, the falling value of the rupee was equated with plummeting national prestige. What about now? Why is the prime minister silent now? Is national honour not being compromised now?

"Prime Minister is tongue tied when soaring prices of essential commodities, petrol, diesel and cooking gas are touching an all-time high. 'Beware Highly Inflammable' this is the tagline for the current BJP government just how it is on the fuel tankers that are used to transport diesel and petrol," he said.

Vaghela, during the press conference, also trained his guns on the RSS, saying that for the first time since 1925, the headquarters of the RSS seem to have shifted from Nagpur to South Block in New Delhi, which houses crucial ministries.

Hitting out at the RSS conclave that was held in the national capital this month, he said, "Using the precincts of the high security zone located Vigyan Bhavan to read out a BJP government script is a vain attempt at taking people for a ride."

The demand of the time is to form a single and united alternative, opposed to the BJP, said Vaghela, who was in the BJP before joining the Congress in the late 1990s.

"Keeping this in mind, I have decided to work for forging closer unity amongst the 'mahagathbandhan' towards providing an effective and result-oriented stable alternative," he said.

He appealed to all political leaders and parties opposed to the BJP to sacrifice their personal and party interests for this "larger cause" of defeating the BJP.

All anti-BJP parties need to forge a united opposition and work on a common minimum programme to abide by the expectations of the people to engage the BJP in a "one-to-one fight" in the upcoming Lok Sabha election, he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, September 26 2018. 18:50 IST