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V C Shukla to head NCP's Chhattisgarh unit

April 11, 2003 18:56 IST

Veteran Congress leader from Chhattisgarh, Vidya Charan Shukla, joined the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party on Friday.

Pawar welcomed Shukla into the NCP fold at a press conference in Mumbai and appointed him to head the party in Chhattisgarh.

Chhattisgarh goes to assembly polls in November and this fissure in the party may cost the Congress dear.

Shukla has been a member of Parliament for nine consecutive terms. His father, Pandit Ravi Shankar Shukla, was the first chief minister of undivided Madhya Pradesh.

His elder brother, Shyama Charan Shukla, also held the chief minister's post in the state thrice.

V C Shukla himself held important portfolios like information and foreign affairs in the Union ministry

under Indira Gandhi.

Lately, V C Shukla had, on more than one occasion, articulated his displeasure over the manner in which Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi was running things in the state. He had accused Jogi of institutionalising corruption and encouraging caste politics.

Shukla sent in his resignation on Friday morning to party president Sonia Gandhi.

Denying he had any personal differences with the Congress leadership, he said it was incomprehensible why Sonia chooses to ignore complaints about wrongdoings in the party's state units.

Shukla said the NCP would win the next assembly election in Chhattisgarh.

Answering a question, Pawar said his party would not be averse to projecting Shukla as its chief ministerial candidate.

Jyoti Shukla in Mumbai