The Congress will not project any chief ministerial candidate in Guajarat in run-up to the state assembly elections due later this year, the party’s newly-appointed state in-charge Ashok Gehlot said here on Wednesday. The party is gearing up to contest elections in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state where it is out of power for over two decades. Gehlot on Wednesday attended the executive committee meeting of the state Congress along with senior leader Ahmed Patel.
Ahead of the elections, a fierce race has started between the state Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki and the leader of opposition in the Assembly Shankarsinh Vaghela to become the party’s CM face. Vaghela camp also wants that he should be declared the head of the election committee but Gehlot today said the decision on the issue would be taken later.
The poster wars and social media campaigns between the two camps have already started with several state leaders and MLAs, owing allegiance to the one or the other camp urging the the high command to declare their favourite leader the CM candidate before the polls, as was done in Punjab recently. “We are out of power in the state for the last 22 years. There is speculation in the media on who will be declared the chief ministerial candidate,” Gehlot said at the executive committee meeting.
“Let us unitedly capture the power and then the high command will decide who will be the chief minister,” he said. “If we cannot unite after being out of power for 22 years, when will we be united? Nobody should talk about naming of chief ministerial candidate. First you all should work together to get us back to power,” he said.
Ahmed Patel said, “I know Vaghela and Solanki personally. They might put their views forward at party forum, but when they have to fight for Congress, they always stand united.” Later, talking to the reporters, Gehlot said there were no differences between the Congress leaders. On question of choosing the state election committee members, Gehlot said these names will be decided later after discussions.
Both Gehlot and Patel asked the party workers to fight the elections with full force and conviction. “This is a very crucial election for the entire country. The BJP government here and at the Centre is on the verge of ruining the country and it is our duty to stop them,” Patel told party workers.
Gehlot said, “This is a fight of ideology. The Congress strengthened the democracy in the country and that is the reason Modi could become the prime minister. If Congress had not strengthened the democracy, he could not have become (even) the chief minister.” Solanki later said various resolutions on issues concerning farmers, fishermen and students were passed in the state executive meeting.