Amidst speculations of Gujarat Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela (75) returning to BJP, the former chief minister met the saffron party president Amit Shah for tea on Thursday.
However, both the camps termed the 10-minute meeting “a courtesy call”.
Shah had attended the assembly’s budget session as Naranpura MLA. After giving an address in the assembly, he visited the chamber of Congress legislative party leader Vaghela, an RSS man-turned-bête noire of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with CM Vijay Rupani and state BJP president Jitu Vaghani.
Sources said that when Shah was about to leave, Vaghela insisted on having “a cup of tea of the opposition”.
“There is nothing political about the meeting. I had said that we would have tea together when minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja conveyed to me on Tuesday that Amitbhai wanted to pay a courtesy visit,” said Vaghela.
“As Amitbhai has come to attend an assembly session, a courtesy meeting was fixed between the two,” said Vaghani.
With state assembly elections due later this year, the meeting has assumed significance as Vaghela had threatened to quit, if he was not named Congress’s chief minister.
The veteran, however, later cleared the air saying he was not in the race for the top post.
On Wednesday, Shah had virtually ruled out the possibility of early elections. Gujarat Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki had said it was for buying time.
This sparked speculations that the meeting between former party colleagues might pave the way for new political equations.
Earlier, Shah in his address in the assembly, hailed the Gujarat development model saying this has become the benchmark for the country. He also mentioned that before the BJP came to power in 1995, Ahmedabad used to live under fear of Abdul Latif—a dreaded gangster and bootlegger of the eighties—and people were forced to have dinner by 6 pm as electricity was never be available after sunset.
However, no opposition member was present in the House when he spoke as Congress staged a walkout demanding tabling of the M B Shah Commission report on corruption charges against the state government when Narendra Modi was chief minister.