Ahmedabad: Senior Congress leaders in Gujarat who have rebelled against the party after being denied tickets on Sunday declared that they would not campaign for the party in the assembly elections. Former deputy chief minister Narhari Amin, former city mayor Himmatsinh Patel, senior Congress leader and former MLA Naresh Raval and a host of other Congress leaders joined hands by organising an anti-party gathering in Ahmedabad.
Amin lambasted state Congress leaders and the high command for denying tickets to 'worthy' candidates at a huge gathering of Congress workers here. "Senior leaders who have been denied tickets will not campaign for the party in the assembly polls. I request you all to stay away from party work. Worthy candidates have been overlooked and those whom people don't even know, have been fielded," Amin said.
Stating that the results of the assembly elections are a foregone conclusion with no possibility of Congress coming to power, Amin said, "A decision regarding the future course of action will be taken in the next few days". Amin, an influential Patel community leader and former president of Gujarat Cricket Association, was denied ticket on the grounds that he had lost two elections in a row.
Former mayor Himmatsinh Patel also could not secure ticket for his son and thus was aggrieved. Amin said," They have insulted us. Candidates, who have not worked for the party and do not meet the people, have been given tickets. Many office-bearers have resigned and Gujarat Congress will have to face the consequences".
To a query whether Union Parliamentary Affairs minister Rajiv Shukla, who met him on Saturday, had offered him a post in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Amin retorted "Rajiv Shukla doesn't run BCCI. I have neither been offered any post nor have I made any compromise." Senior Congress leader Naresh Raval said whoever the people would vote, indirectly, they would be voting for the BJP as they would either vote for Narendra Modi (BJP), Shankarsinh Vaghela (former BJP leader now in Congress) or Keshubhai Patel (former BJP chief minister who now heads GPP).
"The conspiracy of so-called senior leaders like Arjun Modhwadia, Shaktisinh Gohil and Shankarsinh Vaghela has today left Congress in Gujarat in a bad shape," Raval said. Highlighting discrepancies in distribution of tickets, another senior Congress leader said that three MPs have been given tickets and even if they win, they would have to resign either as an MLA or an MP. "Besides, those candidates who had lost by more than 35,000 and 50,000 votes have been fielded again. What criteria is the Congress screening committee talking about," he asked.