Monday, Jan 05, 2004
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By Our Special Correspondent
Mr. Waghela said he was telephonically informed by the AICC secretary in-charge of Gujarat affairs, Vilasrao Deshmukh, to call on the party president, Sonia Gandhi, to discuss the demand for his removal from the party post.
He denied that Mr. Deshmukh had asked him to disband the Shakti Dal as claimed by the rebel camps. "There was no talk of the Shakti Dal with Mr. Deshmukh and he only told me to meet Ms. Gandhi to discuss the rebels' demand for his removal." AICC sources, however, confirmed that Mr. Waghela had been asked to stop all the activities relating to the Dal till his meeting with Ms. Gandhi.
The differences between the Waghela camp and the dissident camp, led by the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Amarsinh Chaudhary, came to the fore over the formation of the Dal, which Mr. Waghela described as the "Congress answer" to the Sangh Parivar's trishul (trident) wielding" militant force.
At a meeting on December 26, the dissident leaders adopted a resolution demanding Mr. Waghela's removal, citing the formation of the Shakti Dal, which, they said, was in contravention of the spirit and culture of the Congress and its constitution.
Mr. Waghela, however, said he had secured Ms. Gandhi's clearance before launching the Dal and would go ahead with recruiting youths for the outfit.
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