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Re: VHP moves to embarrass Vaghela - The Pioneer

Pioneer News Service ()
17 December 1996

Title : VHP move to embarrass Vaghela
Author : Pioneer News Service
Publication : The Pioneer
Date : December 17, 1996

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) are
bracing to launch an offensive against the Shankersinh Vaghela Government in

Putting its ample workforce and lawyers' base to good use, the BJP has
chalked out a strategy to file a string of cases against the Government as
well as key leaders of the ruling Mahagujarat Janata Party (MJP).

The VHP with a view to supplementing the BJP plans is gearing up to spearhead
agitational programmes to weaken the grip of MJP in the State.

The BJP is likely to file one of these cases against Minister of State for
Home Vipul Chaudhary within a week's time.

The VHP has timed the launch of its agitation from Rajkot where the
first-ever meeting of the Gujarat Cabinet is scheduled to be held on December
18. It plans to, choke the streets of Rajkot with thousands of milch cattle
from the scarcity-affected areas of Kutch and Saurashtra on the day.

A plethora of cases have already been filed by BJP leaders and sympathisers
as part of its political strategy. The Supreme Court has already transferred
from the Delhi High Court to the Gujarat High Court the petitions challenging
the validity of presidential proclamation imposing Central rule and initiated
hearing on a petition filed by BJP legislator Gordhandas Jhadapia. A similar
petition filed by independent legislator Upendrasingh Gohil is also pending.

Mr Jhadapia's plea is being heard by a full bench of the High Court on a
day-to-day basis. But the proceedings are held up as Justice R A Mehta is on
leave. He is expected back by December 20. Mr Jhadapia's lawyer had pleaded
for replacement of the absent judge on the bench to expedite the hearing.

BJP leader Amit Sha has already approached the High Court with a writ
petition for a CBI enquiry into allegations of large-scale bribery involving
Chief Minister Shankersinh Vaghela for winning over legislators to form the
MJP Government. The petition has named at least four legislators including
MJP ministers. They are Deputy Minister for Rural Housing Rai Singh Parmar,
Deputy Speaker Chandubhai Dabhi and Panchmabal district legislators
Bhailaibhai Varia and Somsinh Chauhan. The case is being pleaded by BJP MLA
and High Court advocate Yatin Oza.

Mr Harin Pandya, BJP spokesperson, has gone on record to state that Mr
Vaghela gave Rs 2 crore to each of the 25 legislators for shifting loyalty
from the BJP to the MJP. He has billed it as the second test case in the
history of the country after the JMM bribery case.

Meanwhile, Chartered Accountant Jayml Thakore has approached the High Court
with a writ petition seeking an Income Tax Department probe Into the sources
of wealth of Mr Vaghela who chartered a plane to airlift 46 legislators to
Khajuraho during the rebellion of 1995 that ultimately led to the fall of the
Keshubhai Patel Government. He has also demanded a probe Into the expenditure
Incurred on the wedding reception of Mr Vaghela's son.

Chief Commissioner, Income Tax, has already issued orders for a probe and
officers of the department have got on the job in Ahmedabad, Jamnagar in
Gujarat and Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. A preliminary report has already been
submitted to the court by the department.

The BJP has also knocked the doors of the High Court with the plea that the
Vaghela Government's appointment of chairpersons to State-owned boards and
corporations amount to a contempt of the court.

Also BJP legislator and spokesperson Haren Pandya has a already filed a
petition before Secretary of the Gujarat Assembly Vinod Dave seeking
disqualification of new Speaker Ghumansinh Vaghela.

As per the law, petitions for disqualification of the Speaker are presented
before the Assembly Secretary. According to Section 7(3) of the
disqualification rules, the Secretary is to inform the House at the earliest
about the petition and then a member is to be elected for considering the
validity of the petition. Mr Pandya's contention Is that after 18 of the 46
legislators who had presented a memorandum to the Governor, on August 18
returned to the BJP, the splint group had less than one-third members and so
should have been disqualified under the anti-defection laws.

In yet another petition, also riled before the Assembly Secretary, Mr Pandya
has sought disqualification of 46 rebel legislators, including two ministers,
who deserted the BJP to join Mr Vaghela's outfit.

Mr Pandya has contended that the Speaker was not competent to hear the
petition as he was one of those against whom it has been filed.

The BJP strategy of whipping up popular sentiment against Mr Vaghela by
resorting to agitational means has however failed to yield the desired
results. All its programmes have flopped.

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