Is Shankersinh Vaghela preparing to do a ghar wapsi, or planning to return to his roots? There are telltale signs that indeed it is going to happen. The way his supporters are alleged to have cross-voted for the BJP’s presidential candidate in the just concluded presidential elections are signs enough that all his plans begin with the Sangh and the BJP and end with them.
Shankersinh Vaghela, a former BJP stalwart who went on to become Gujarat Chief Minister, when the BJP formed its government in the state, began his political inning with the Jan Sangh, the first major political incarnation of the BJP, Hindu right wing RSS’s political arm.
It is often said that once a Sangh member, always a Sangh member. Long before his stint in politics, he was an active Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) member. Vaghela was an active member of the RSS before joining Jana Sangh. He was jailed during the Indira Gandhi’s Emergency. After the Emergency was lifted, he was elected to the 6th Lok Sabha on a Janata Party ticket from Kapadvanj in 1977. Nonetheless he lost that seat in 1980 elections;
He was among the senior most RSS hands in the state and this was the reason that he became the Vice-President of the Janata Party in Gujarat and from 1980 to 1991 he was the General Secretary and President of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Gujarat. He was a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1984 to 1989. In 1989 he was elected to the 9th Lok Sabha (1989–91) from Gandhinagar and in 1991 he was re-elected to the 10th Lok Sabha (1991–96) from Godhra.
Due to the fact that Keshubhai Patel was given preference over him and he was unceremoniously removed to give way to Patel to be the chief minister prompted him to leave the BJP and look for greener pastures somewhere else. He rebelled, taking along with him close to 50 MLA. After sometimes he installed himself as the CM with the Congress support. Later he joined the Congress
What is a common knowledge in the state is the fact that he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have never enjoyed cordial relations. In fact Modi was banished from the state in late nineties merely to please Vaghela.
As he resigned from the Congress on Friday, after shocking the party with cross voting in favor of Ram Nath Gowind, the BJP candidate in the presidential elections, all his options seem to be attached with the BJP.
He may launch his own political party in order to further weaken the Congress party. With BJP’s blessings it may attract many Congress rebels who have supported him recently.
There are reasons to believe that the BJP has offered him governorship of Bihar that will need a governor as Ram Nath Gowind has been elected as the new President of India. He will take over the job from President Mukherjee next week. Another theory doing the rounds is that Vaghela may opt for Rajya Sabha elections as an independent candidate if the BJP promises support of its MLAs.