AHMEDABAD: Former Gujarat chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela on Tuesday joined the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) at Gandhinagar in presence of party chief Sharad Pawar.

He has been made the NCP's national general secretary.

“People of Gujarat have given me immense love and I want to give it back to them, that is why I am joining NCP. I can foresee an anti-BJP government, similar to UPA-3 in the country. The current government is cruel, corrupt and a conspirator," said Vaghela on Tuesday.

Hitting out at the BJP-led central government, ex-Congress leader Vaghela said: "Youth is unemployed, women are insecure, farmers are committing suicide and business community has been destroyed by demonetisation. To save the democracy and to save the people from BJP rule, I have decided to join NCP".

He further alleged that the BJP is trying to kill democracy.

Vaghela used to be in the BJP and played a crucial role in the party’s victory in Gujarat in 1995. In March 1995, the BJP won 121 of 182 seats and Keshubhai Patel became chief minister. He later rebelled and became chief minister in October 1996. He floated his own party, the Rashtriya Janata Party, which was later merged with the Congress. Ahead of Gujarat state elections, Vaghela opened a new political front by joining Jan Vikalp party. The party did not manage to win a single seat out of the total 182 seats.

“I have asked Vaghela to not only concentrate on Gujarat but also contribute towards national development of NCP. He will be the national general secretary of the party. In Gujarat, we want to strengthen anti-BJP forces and by bringing in Vaghela, we have tried to do that," Pawar said on Tuesday.

Vaghela's entry into the NCP is seen as an attempt to have a three-corner fight on few Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat in case the Pawar-led party does not enter into an alliance with Congress. 

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