Ahmedabad: Senior Gujarat Congress leader and former Union minister Bharatsinh Solanki on Friday announced he was taking a break from active politics for a few months, the announcement coming amid a troubled marriage and a video linked to it going viral a couple of days ago.
Solanki maintained that his decision to stay away from politics for some months and to concentrate on meeting "Dalits, tribals, minorities and people from other backward communities" during this period was voluntary.
The viral video showed Solanki's estranged wife Reshma entering a house and thrashing a woman seen with the former, after accusing her of "snatching" her husband.
"I have decided to take a break from active politics for few months and will focus on social activities. I will spend more time meeting Dalits, tribals, minorities and people from other backward communities during this period," he said at a press conference.
While it was speculated that the decision was taken on the directive of the party, Solanki claimed "I have not received any instruction from high command".
Attacking his estranged wife over the issue, the 68-year-old leader said she was playing into the hands of his political opponents ahead of Assembly polls scheduled in the state later this year.
"It is obvious she is playing into the hands of those who want to harm me and the Congress in the upcoming (state) polls. Opposing parties are interested in such issues because they want to take advantage by maligning my image as well as that of the Congress," he claimed.
Solanki said he has already filed for the divorce and alleged his estranged wife, whom he married in 1999, was interested in his property and posed a danger to his life.
"We have not lived together for many years. I am seeking divorce because she had tried to harm me in the past to snatch my property. She even contacted an exorcist to take my life. I may get married again if I get divorce from her. The court will hear my application for divorce on June 15," Solanki alleged.
Solanki, a former Gujarat Congress president, had served as minister when the UPA was in power at the Centre.