The Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) is likely to appoint four working presidents to assist the state party chief Bharatsinh Solanki for Assembly poll preparations. Sources said that the party will appoint MLAs Paresh Dhanani and Ashwin Kotwal, former MP Jagdish Thakore and former minister Tushar Chaudhary as working presidents.
Sources said that the initiative was being taken to satisfy all social and caste groups important from the election point of view.
According to the sources, former state party president Siddharth Patel is likely to be appointed as chairman of the election campaign committee and former MP Madhusudan Mistry as chairman of the election manifesto committee.
Besides, three new vice-presidents, five general secretaries and four spokespersons are also to be appointed.
State Congress chief Solanki, when questioned, said the appointments were to be made within a week. However, he did not reveal the names.
Meanwhile, senior party leader Deepak Babariya on Saturday reached Surat to consult traders and take their inputs as party begun consultations for its manifesto.
The impact of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on various industries, especially diamond and textiles, may get a prominent place in the Congress party’s manifesto.
Babariya met textile, jari, diamonds and embroidery traders and discussed issues affecting their business. He also met trade union leaders.
It is to be noted that textile traders in Surat have been protesting against the five per cent GST on their industry. Though they have called off their strike after receiving assurances from the state government and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, their protest against the GST continues.
“The meeting will help us in preparing the roadmap of Congress manifesto for the Assembly elections. We heard that textile industry is badly hit by the GST and the demands of weavers and traders have not been looked into by the GST Council. The state government also failed to take up their issues. If this issue is not sorted out, lakhs of people will be jobless, and people will start migrating from Surat to other states for work,” he said.
“The situation in the textile weaving industry is very bad in Surat city as weavers face great difficulties due to GST. There are over 6 lakh powerloom machines in Surat, and lakhs of people attached to this industry will be affected,” he added.
The Congress leader also met traders from diamond industry and listened to their grievances about 5 per cent GST on inter-state transport of diamonds and 3 per cent GST on import of unsorted rough diamonds.
Apart from meeting student leaders, Babariya met party leaders of Surat, Navsari, Valsad, Tapi and Bharuch. Party sources said that senior Congress leaders will also meet people from the NGOs in the state.