(Eds: updating with Vasava's quotes) Bharuch, Dec 29 (PTI) BJP MP from Gujarat and former Union minister Mansukh Vasava has resigned from the party and said he would also quit as a Member of Parliament, but denied that his opposition to Eco Sensitive Zone in his constituency was the reason.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, 63-year-old Vasava, a six-time MP from tribal-dominated Bharuch, said he had no issues with the government or the party but was quitting only because of health issues.
He denied that he was quitting over the Union government's decision to declare an Eco Sensitive Zone in his constituency.
But in his resignation letter dated December 28 to Gujarat BJP chief C R Paatil, Vasava, an outspoken tribal leader, said he tried his best to be loyal to the party and assimilate its values, but still he was prone to committing mistakes.
'I am ultimately human and humans tend to commit mistakes. To ensure that the party does not suffer due to my mistakes, I hereby resign from the party, and I seek forgiveness from the party for it,' he wrote.
'I will meet the Lok Sabha speaker during the upcoming Budget session of the Parliament and tender my resignation as an MP,' the letter further said.
Speaking to reporters, Vasava shied away from explaining what he meant by 'mistakes'.
'I am having no issues at all with the BJP or the government. The only thing is that I remain unwell most of the time and the doctors have advised me to take rest now.
'Though I am an MP, I could not travel much and be with my people due to this back pain, which has now started affecting the functioning of my brain,' he said.
'I am not irreplaceable. A mid-term election can always be announced. I must not continue as MP if I can not remain in contact with my people. My decision has nothing to do with the Eco Sensitive Zone (issue). I am confident that it will be resolved soon by the government,' he said.
Paatil said Vasava was a sensitive person, someone who fights for the people of his constituency.
'He is unhappy over some issues and I had a discussion about it with the Chief Minister this morning too,' the state BJP chief told reporters.
'The main issue is the declaration of Eco Sensitive Zone by the Centre in his constituency. It appears that some people are misguiding locals over the issue after the Collector had made some entries about land parcels. We are trying to convince Vasava and I am confident that a solution will be found soon,' Paatil said.
Vasava, the BJP's only prominent face in the tribal belt of Bharuch and Narmada districts, has been winning his Lok Sabha seat since 1998.
He was inducted as Union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2014. However, he was abruptly dropped in July 2016.
On December 20, he had dashed off a letter to Modi demanding withdrawal of the Eco Sensitive Zone from 121 villages of Narmada district.
Local tribals were angry because of 'unnecessary interference' by officials after these tribal-dominated villages were included in the Eco Sensitive Zone, he said.
A year ago, Vasava had openly targeted senior IAS officer Rajiv Kumar Gupta after the Statue of Unity administration under Gupta removed stalls of local tribals on a road near the grand monument. PTI COR PJT PDVT KRK KRK