With two of its senior leaders — former MP Jagdish Thakore and Abdasa MLA Shaktisinh Gohil — having tendered resignation from party posts, Congress faces a revolt. Another senior leader and former MP Kunvarji Bavalia has also expressed his anger against the party leadership.
This has landed the party leadership in a difficult situation. Instead of gearing up the party to face the challenges of 2017 assembly elections, the energy of the state and central leadership has been diverted to overcome the situation created by the new development in the party.
At the root of the issue is the formation of six “coordination and guidance committees” set up under the leadership of six senior leaders, each of them assigned certain number of districts. As per mandate given to the committee heads, they had to meet the district and grass-root level leaders of the party in their respective areas and submit a detailed report about party position to the state party and which was in turn to be sent to the parliamentary board for screening the names of candidates for 2017 assembly polls.
The leaders assigned the job included former state party presidents Arjun Modhwadia and Siddharth Patel, senior leader Shaktisinh Gohil, tribal leader Tushar Chaudhary, leader of opposition in the state assembly Shankersinh Vaghela and state party chief Bharatsinh Solanki himself. Reliable party sources said that the committees were set up in consultation with senior state party leaders and distribution of assignment was cleared by the central party leadership.
A senior party leader from the state in Delhi said: “The committees were set up in consultation with senior leaders, including those who have now raised the banner of revolt against the party leadership. Instead of supporting the party leadership, it is unfortunate that they are revolting against the decision.” On conditions of anonymity, the senior leader said there was no question of replacing the state party president Bharatsinh Solanki and he would lead the party in 2017 assembly polls.
The dissenters, according to party sources, feel that those heading the committees would recommend the names of their own supporters as party candidates in assembly polls leaving out their supporters. Most of the Congress leaders feel that political atmosphere in the state is for the first time in favour of the party after over two decades and hence, all of them want themselves and their supporters not to miss out this election.
“This caused some of the leaders like Jagdish Thakore to stage a revolt against the leadership,” say party leaders. The dissenters also blame “inaccessibility” and “lack of interaction” on the party of state party president Bharatsinh Solanki among the reasons behind the present mutiny. In fact, Thakore has challenged the leadership of Shankersinh Vaghela as well and gone on record to say that he would not contest the assembly elections with the two leaders being at the helm of party affairs. He has blamed the two leaders of encouraging “indiscipline” in the party.
Shaktisinh Gohil says he has resigned from the chairman of the committee to remove difficulty for party leadership. Refusing to say if the party would consider taking disciplinary action against those indulging in “indiscipline”’, state party chief Bharatsinh Solanki rejected the allegations against him.