Ahmedabad: Congress’ former leader Shankersinh Vaghela said today his new political front will contest all the 182 seats of Gujarat Assembly on the election symbol of a Rajasthan-based party. The polling for the two-phase elections will take place on December 9 and 14, and votes will be counted on December 18.
According to Vaghela, a former chief minister of Gujarat,the ‘All India Hindustan Congress’ party, registered in Jaipur a year back and allotted the symbol of ‘a farmer driving a tractor’, has agreed to give the symbol to his front, ‘Jan Vikalp’.
“Though we sought a symbol from the EC to contest this election, it is now too late. Thus, we have entered into an agreement with ‘All India Hindustan Congress Party’, which has agreed to give its symbol to us. Our candidates will fight polls on that symbol,” Vaghela told reporters here today.
Vaghela, an influential Kshatriya leader, had quit the Congress after the Rajya Sabha polls in August and joined ‘Jan Vikalp’, an organisation floated by his supporters. According to Hindustan Congress’ national general secretary Anil Kumar Sharma, the party has agreed to give its symbol to Vaghela and be a part of the Jan Vikalp front.
“The party was formed one year back in Jaipur and this is the first election for us. We have agreed to give our symbol to Vaghela’s front for the Gujarat election. We hereby declare unconditional support of our party to Vaghela,” Sharma told reporters at the joint press conference. Vaghela said if his front comes to power, it would take care of the poor.
He also promised to bring a bill in the Assembly seeking to give 25 per cent additional quota for non-reserved classes in Gujarat. “I believe that non-reserved classes should get 25 percent reservation.
It is a misconception that the state cannot go beyond 49.5 per cent quota. We will bring a legislation to give 25 per cent additional quota if voted to power,” he said. Out of the existing 27 per cent reservation for OBCs, Vaghela said his government would keep aside 10 per cent for some of the most backward communities, if voted to power.
His other promises include Rs 5,000 pension for widows,Rs 5,000 pension for elderly people having nobody to take care of them and more autonomy to sarpanchs. While joining the ‘Jan Vikalp’ last month, Vaghela had claimed that he will not contest the Assembly polls. However, the 77-year-old former Union minister did not rule out the possibility of taking over as the chief minister,if the front secures a majority in the elections.