Former Gujarat Chief Minister Shankersinh Vaghela is all set to form his new political outfit. Sources say that the former Gujarat BJP, Congress and RJP(Rashtriya Janata Party) president, the evergreen politician Shankersinh, popularly known as Bapu is all set to make a fresh foray into politics. He is likely to set up the Prajashakti Democratic Party(JDP). He is one politician who has been with the majority of political parties in Gujarat. His last association was with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in 2019-2020.
Shankersinh Vaghela, still considered to be one of the fittest politicians of Gujarat is 82.
Prajashakti Democratic Party(PDP) will cater to the aspirations of Gujarat youth, Shankersinh Vaghela has said.
Shankersinh Vaghela started his political career with the Jana Sangh, which later merged into the Janata Party in 1977. After the Janata Party split into various factions, Vaghela became a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Vaghela is considered to be instrumental along with Keshubhai Patel to ensure that the BJP is elected in Gujarat. It is believed that Vaghela travelled to almost all 16,000 villages in Gujarat and established contacts. Gujarat became the first state of India to form a majority BJP government in 1995. However, in 1996, Vaghela then blamed PM Narendra Modi for continuous interference in the Keshubhai Patel government. He also alleged that Keshubhai Patel was hands in glove with Narendra Modi. Modi was then expelled from Gujarat to ensure the smooth functioning of the BJP government. But still, Vaghela claimed things had not changed. In 1996, he broke away from the BJP and formed the Rashtriya Janata Party. He served as the Chief Minister of Gujarat from 1996 to 1997. Congress gave outside support to his government. However, later Congress withdrew the support and Keshubhai Patel of BJP again became the Chief Minister in 1998. Vaghela by then had merged his RJP with the Congress.
But his Congress honeymoon ended in 2017. It is believed that BJP threatened Vaghela with action by Central agencies. Vaghela, when he was the Union textiles minister in the UPA government was alleged to have indulged in irregularities especially in the sale of several mill land in Mumbai and Ahmedabad. So, before Ahmed Patel’s crucial Rajyasabha elections, Vaghela left the Congress with his supporters.
In 2017, Vaghela formed a new outfit called Jan Vikalp Morcha which contested but did not win any of the seats in 2017 Gujarat Legislative Assembly election.However, his outfit divided votes and indirectly helped the BJP.
It must be noted that Vaghela’s application for registration of Jan Vikalp Morcha was not approved by the Election Commission and hence his outfit fielded 95 candidates under the symbol and banner of Jaipur-based All India Hindustan Congress Party to contest the election. AIHCP garnered only 0.3% (83,922) of total votes and did not win any seat. Shankersinh Vaghela then joined Nationalist Congress Party in 2019 and remained there till 2020.He was sacked from NCP in 2020.
Vaghela also served as a Member of Parliament, having been elected to the 6th, 9th (1989-1991), 10th, 13th and 14th Lok Sabhas. He was also a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1984 to 1989. He served as the Union Cabinet Minister of Textiles from 2004 to 2009 in the First Manmohan Singh Cabinet. He represented the Kapadvanj constituency in the Gujarat legislative assembly from 2012 to 2017.
It remains to be seen whether Vaghela’s latest political outfit , the PDP helps the BJP or not in the December 2022 elections. It must be noted that of late Vaghela wanted to join the Congress but the Party High Command was reluctant to re-induct him to the Party. Former Union minister and State Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki was lobbying his case for re-induction aggressively.