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RJP stands by Vaghela, cocks a snook at Congress

The ruling Rashtriya Janata Party in Gujarat on Saturday unanimously passed a one-line resolution expressing its faith in Shankarsinh Vaghela's leadership. With this, it has clearly rejected the Congress demand for a change in the party leadership.

The meeting also authorised Vaghela to continue a dialogue with the Congress, which had withdrawn support to the RJP government. Governor Krishnapal Singh has asked for a vote of confidence on or before October 28. The state legislative assembly has fixed it for 12 noon on that day.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday stepped up its demand for the dismissal of the Vaghela government and said the state assembly should be dissolved and fresh elections held.

BJP vice-president Madan Lal Khurana attacked the Congress for decided to renew support to the Gujarat government. The Congress had withdrawn support to the Vaghela government on 16 counts and had demanded a mid-term poll. But after a setback in Uttar Pradesh, Congress president Sitaram Kesri had given his earlier decision a second thought, Khurana said.

Maintaining the BJP would not stake its claim to form a government in Gujarat, Khurana said a fresh election to the assembly should be held soon since the Vaghela government did not have the people's mandate.

"The perversion of the people's mandate in the last assembly election has continued for far too long," he said. Instead, "the BJP is looking forward to holding of elections in the country."

The former Delhi chief minister also ridiculed the Congress stand that it would support the RJP government if Vaghela was removed. He equated it to the Congress withdrawal of support to the United Front government and its later willingness to back the government if then prime minister Deve Gowda was replaced.

Khurana claimed the Congress became panicky after the party split in Uttar Pradesh. Kesri, he said, changed his stand after two emissaries of Gujarat Chief Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela met him on Saturday and told him "the RJP would break if Shri Vaghela is removed." Kesri is averse to the BJP gaining from the current crisis.

Khurana demanded that a CBI inquiry be ordered into the 16 charges made by the Congress against the Vaghela government in its letter to Governor Singh on October 20 when the party withdrew support.

Gujarat govt seeks vote of confidence on Tuesday
Gujarat govt totters past one-year mark
'If they tell me to become chief minister, I am ready to accept'
MJP may switch chief ministers to keep Congress happy
A prickly marriage of convenience
Congress withdraws support to Vaghela govt

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