In a quick development across the two parties-the BJP and Congress, drastic transformations appeared just in a matter of days- “Former Gujarat Youth Congress president Vishwanathsinh Vaghela joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on September 6, 2022, two days after quitting his post, whereas the Congress immediately announced the party’s national secretary for ‘Youth Wing’ Harpalsinh Chudasama as Vaghela’s successor.”
The 36-year old Gujarat Youth Congress President, Vishwanathsinh Vaghela’s recent resignation just before Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the state was a double whammy for India’s biggest party in opposition.
While taking his oath as the chief of Congress party’s ‘Youth Wing’ in January this year, Vaghela had thanked Rahul Gandhi, saying: “It is in a democratic and visionary party like the Congress that the son of a police constable rose to my position.” But while leaving the party on September 5, he expressed his stifled agony: “There is no place for a common youth like me in the Congress.”
For the Congress party, Vaghela’s resignation came as a double blow, as he was chosen for the job of Youth Congress via an election that was once touted as Rahul’s bold initiative to kickstart democracy within the party.
Vaghela, in his six-page resignation opined regarding the party’s internal factionalism saying, “Rahulji, when you introduced elections to the NSUI and Youth Congress, it gave hope to lakhs of youths like me but, because of very expensive elections, we are losing respect for you… Only those who are rich and sons of leaders can work well in the Congress party.”
Known as a confidant of Hardik Patel, Vaghela expressed similar disappointments with the Congress while joining BJP.
However, hitting back at what Vaghela had claimed, Parthivrajsinh Kathvadia, former national spokesperson of the Indian Youth Congress and its training coordinator, uttered: “What transpired in these eight months that Vaghela, who had worked for 18 years with the party and held senior positions, the same party which supported the son of a police constable, is now blaming the party and Rahul Gandhi?”
Adding avowals against Vaghela, a few youth congress leaders expressed: “The over-ambitious Vaghela had been meeting senior BJP leaders for some time, and had tried to join the party at least thrice.”
Vaghela while joining the BJP mentioned that he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party after getting inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s nationalist ideology as well as the BJP’s pro-development policies.
Expressing his concern over Congress party’s internal factionalism and highlighting its shortcomings, he said: “The Gujarat Congress is suffering from groupism and nepotism. When I tried to change the party’s culture after becoming its youth wing president (in Gujarat), I was not allowed to do so. The Congress party never gives any direction to its youths, who want to do something for the country and the state.”
Starting his political career as a student leader in the year 2008 at Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, Vaghela won the NSUI’s Ahmedabad city president election, and subsequently the NSUI’s national delegate election in 2013.
Interestingly, Vaghela expressed in his letter that he only got picked because he spent bounty of money to win elections, adding- “During the 2010 and 2013 NSUI elections, he had to bear a cost of INR Rs 25 lakh, while he had to spent INR 1.7 crore on the 2016 and 2021 Youth Congress polls.”
“How can I respect a party, where I had to buy positions? I was tolerating all the weaknesses of the party, but now my tolerance limit is over,” he stated.
Criticising the party on reciting just the hymns of Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, Vaghela added, “What the Congress required of its leaders was just the bhakti of one family” and questioned the party’s real vision as a national party, adding, – “The party needed not a Bharat Jodo Yatra but a Congress Jodo Yatra.”
Complaining in his letter, Vaghela stated, “On May 21 and August 20, the death and birth anniversaries of late Rajiv Gandhi, Youth Congress leaders had ‘spent lakhs’ and reached Delhi, but Rahul did not turn up ‘even for two minutes’.”
After Vaghela’s resignation and attack came as another setback for the Congress party, Youth leaders pointed, “Vaghela did not react or give any statement when Hardik had joined the BJP, and had been ‘forced’ to address a press conference on the matter.”
Meanwhile, Kathvadia resorted to saying: “This has become a modus operandi now, that leave the Congress and then defame Rahul Gandhi. Which party does not have differences of opinion? In the BJP, Amit Shah and Anandiben Patel have differences, in AAP, Kumar Vishwas and Arvind Kejriwal have had them. It is only in the Congress party that you have the freedom to express your difference of opinion, and that is respected. The party that gave opportunities to the son of a police constable is now accusing the Congress. This shows his character.”
Of late, India’s biggest party in opposition has been continuously hit by its own party members and there has been a series of episodes that has forced the members to leave the party.
Recently, party’s senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad resigned and a key G-23 leader, Former Union Minister Anand Sharma, quit the post of chairman of the Congress Steering Committee (CSC).