In yet another trouble for the Vijay Rupani-led BJP government in Gujarat, Minister of State for Fisheries Parshottam Solanki on Tuesday expressed his displeasure over the allocation of portfolios, saying it has “hurt the sentiments” of his Koli community.
After Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, Solanki is the second minister to have voiced his displeasure over the portfolio allocation. “I have been elected as an MLA for the fifth time, and yet I have been given just one portfolio of fisheries. This has hurt the sentiments of Koli community, and they are unhappy. The Koli community should be given adequate representation in the government. And either I should be given some more portfolio(s) or some other Koli leader should be inducted into the cabinet,” Solanki told The Indian Express after meeting the chief minister on Tuesday. Solanki, 56, has been skipping office after he took charge of the ministry last week. In the previous BJP government, he had held the same portfolio. He is also facing a corruption case involving Rs 400-crore fishing contracts that were awarded by him in the previous government. The matter is pending at a Gandhinagar court.
“Today, I had come to meet the chief minister and expressed my feelings. But, nearly 100 people were present to meet him. So, I could not talk to him much. And he also told me that he will call and meet me in the next 4 to 5 days,” he added. On asked about his move if his “feelings” are not honoured, Solanki replied, “The Koli community will decide that.”
Solanki’s statements created ripples in the political circles. Senior minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama rushed to meet him at his office in Swarnim Sankul 2. “Parshottambhai is not unhappy. He has put forward his point, and the chief minister has told him that we will think over it… His (Solanki’s) intention is not to put the government in jeopardy,” Chudasama told reporters after meeting Solanki.
Just two days ago, Deputy CM Nitin Patel had stayed away from taking charge of his ministry in the new government, saying his that the portfolios allotted to him were not “befitting to the stature of the Deputy CM”. BJP president Amit Shah had to intervene and Patel was allotted Finance ministry.