The Congress continues to lose party members, with Gujarat Youth Congress president Vishwanathsinh Vaghela being the latest to file his resignation, on September 4. Resigning shortly before Rahul Gandhi’s planned visit to the state, Vaghela has claimed that the party took ₹1.5 crores from him to appoint him the Youth Congress president. This comes ahead of the Gujarat Assembly election, scheduled to take place later this year.
According to Congress sources, one of the seven working presidents of the Gujarat Youth Congress, Indravijaysinh Gohil, had a rift with Vaghela. In his resignation letter of six pages, Vaghela says that several leaders within the party attempted to sabotage his prospects after he was elected president of the party’s youth state unit. “In 2016, I had successfully contested for the state general secretary (post) of Gujarat Youth Congress and in 2021, I contested for the president’s post and won. In both the elections, I had collected Rs 1.7 crore from my group and given to the party after which I was given these posts. You could say that the Congress had sold these big posts to me (sic),” wrote Vaghela.
In his remarks, Vaghela highlighted the Congress party’s internal fights and factionalism, and alleged that for any posts he received between 2016 and 2021, he was required to pay Rs 70 lakhs to the party. Vaghela, who served as a working president of the Gujarat Congress, is considered a close ally of Hardik Patel. Some Youth Congress leaders reportedly questioned his integrity after Patel resigned from the Congress and joined the BJP, asking, “As Hardik joined BJP, what would Vishwanath do? How can he remain president of Gujarat Youth Congress?”
Vaghela announced his decision at a press conference on Sunday, during which, he said:
“Tomorrow Rahul Ji is going to attend the convention but 10 out of 100 people attending the program do not know their booth. My father passed away, I fought the election with the money I received after his death. None of my forefathers has come into politics. Many leaders have tried to fail me, and I have resigned because I lost all my capacities. The party has taken Rs 1.5 crore from me to appoint me the state president of the Youth Congress.”
Several allegations are made in the six-page resignation letter written by Vishwanathsinh Vaghela. He shared:
“One of the biggest reasons for joining the Congress was that from an early age, I used to read history books and learned that Congress leaders brought freedom. That’s why I chose the Congress party. However as I continued to work in the party, I came to know that many of the real leaders who had given the freedom to the country had left in 1969. I have not even seen the photographs of the leaders who gave us freedom, and who were my sources of inspiration, in the Congress office.
“I had long felt as if the present Congress was lost in worshipping one family. Whatever positions were given to me by the Congress party, they took money from me and sold those positions to me. So how can a person like a sold position? Ever since I became the President of the Youth Congress, I have been a victim of factionalism by senior leaders of the party. The group leaders against the senior leaders who helped me in the Youth Congress decided to target me.”
Further explaining the factionalism within Gujarat Congress, he said, “I resigned as I am fed up now. I messaged Srinivas and Krishna 3-4 days ago. They have stopped picking up my calls. Hardik Patel has already left 3-4 months back. Our pain may be the same. I won’t name anyone here, but senior party leaders know why they are leaving.”
“Groupism has been going on for 10 years… let the party handle this groupism on its own. I have not spoken to the BJP, but I would be active in politics. Like me, countless youths are unhappy with the party,” said Vaghela. BJP state executive Vanrajsinh Chavda also attended the press conference.
Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to address a rally of booth-level party workers today at the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, where the assembly election is scheduled to be held later this year. A Congress convention of “booth warriors” – Parivartan Sankalp – will be held at the Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad, according to party leaders.
In preparation for the Congress’ ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, Rahul Gandhi will later travel to the Sabarmati Ashram, where he will attend a prayer meeting and seek Mahatma Gandhi’s blessings. The Wayanad MP made his last appearance in Gujarat on May 10, when he spoke to tribals in Dahod. According to party officials, this time he will organise Congress workers at the booth level for the coming election, kicking off the party’s campaign in the state.
Gandhi will be in Gujarat for two days before the party’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ kickoff in Tamil Nadu. The 3,500 kms long foot march is supposed to take over 150 days to complete, and will cover 12 states and two Union Territories. For the Gujarat Assembly election scheduled for around December this year, the Congress has planned a three-month campaign, as per party leaders. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are expected to campaign in the state during this time. The party hopes to release its initial list of candidates by September 15.