Former Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela’s Jan Vikalp Morcha on Wednesday tied up with the All India Hindustan Congress Party to contest the Gujarat Assembly elections. Vaghela said his Jan Vikalp Morcha will fight the election using the tractor symbol of the Jaipur-based party that was launched last year.

“We believe in placing candidates on merits, unlike others who are indulging in horse-trading,” Vaghela said at a press conference, taking a jibe both at the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress. He added that his party was in talks with some candidates of the Aam Aadmi Party and the Nationalist Congress Party ahead of the election, The Times of India reported.

The former Gujarat chief minister said his party would not take funds from industrialists. “If our government is formed, we will provide Rs 5,000 pension to widows,” he added.

In September, when he had joined the Jan Vikalp forum, he had said that the people in Gujarat were fed up of the BJP and the Congress, and were looking for an alternative. “It is a myth to say that an alternative political force cannot work in Gujarat,” he had said.

On July 21, Vaghela had quit all party posts in the Congress, and as leader of Opposition in Gujarat. In August, he had also resigned from his position as a Member of Gujarat’s Legislative Assembly. The senior party leader had quit the Congress after reports emerged that he had demanded to be its chief ministerial face for the Gujarat Assembly elections. However, he was told that it would be unfair to select him over other Gujarat party leaders such as Shaktisinh Gohil and Bharatsinh Solanki.

Vaghela had defied the Congress’ whip in the Rajya Sabha election held in Gujarat in August and had voted for the BJP.