Months after former Congress MP and Saurashtra strongman Vitthal Radadiya crossed over to BJP along with his MLA son Jayesh,Rajkot MP Kunwarji Bavalia,also from Congress,seems set to stage a revolt.
A strong Koli-Patel leader like Radadiya,Bavalia hoped to get a berth during the recent reshuffle of the union cabinet is reportedly unhappy after being denied a berth.
The Congress MP is holding a meeting of his supporters and some party leaders from Saurashtra at Jasdan in Rajkot district on Sunday.
Speaking to the Indian Express over phone,Bavalia said several Congress leaders,including Lok Sabha MP from Surendranagar Somabhai Patel,also a Koli-Patel leader,and Jamnagar MP Vikram Madame,were expected to participate.
The agenda of the meeting,according to Bavalia,is to discuss the neglect of the Saurashtra region by the Congress leadership.
He said while two MPs from the central Gujarat,Dinsha Patel and Bharatsinh Solanki,and one from south Gujarat,Dr Tushar Chaudhary,were made ministers in the UPA government,Saurashtra had been overlooked.
I am not interested in being a minister,but I want someone from Saurashtra to be given a berth in the union cabinet, Bavalia said,adding there are at present three Lok Sabha MPs from the region,including himself.
He said he would discuss the issue with party workers and leaders belonging to the area and convey their views to the party high command.
Asked if he had taken up the issue with state party president Arjun Modhwadia,Bavalia said that hailing from Porbander,Modhwadia was well aware of the discontent among the party workers owing to the indifference of the leaders toward the region. He said it was the reason why Vitthal Radadiya and his son switched over to the BJP recently.
However,Bavaliya did not say anything concrete about his future course of action,excepting the Sunday meeting.
I will report the peoples opinion to the party high command,including the newly appointed AICCs Gujarat in-charge Gurudas Kamat, he stated.
He said Surendranagar MP Somabhai Patel and some other leaders from the region had agreed to attend his meeting.
However,Patel,when contacted over phone,said he had no idea of the meeting. I am out of Gujarat at the moment and not aware of Bavalias meeting.
Former Congress minister Chandrikaben Chudasma,when approached,said she had been invited. But I would not be able to attend the meeting due to ill-health of a close relative,who is undergoing treatment at Sal Hospital, she added.
Bavalia is a senior Congress leader who has represented Jasdan in the state Assembly for several times before getting elected to Lok Sabha in 2009.
Despite Rajkot being a BJP bastion,Bavalia won the Rajkot Lok Sabha seat for Congress. However,his position weakened in the party after he lost the Assembly elections from Jasdan in December 2012.
Modhwadia could not be contacted,but state party spokesperson Manish Doshi said about Bavalias proposed meeting,Bavalia is holding a meeting to consolidate Koli-Patels of the region and it is nothing against the party.