Updated: June 10, 2021 12:17:46 am
The post of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president and that of Opposition leader in the Gujarat Assembly has been lying vacant for the past three months, even as the party’s Delhi leadership is gripped of the situation, having lost its AICC-in-charge of Gujarat and Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Satav and veteran leader Ahmed Patel, also an RS MP, to Covid-19.
In 2017 assembly polls, Congress won 77 of the 182 seats, which is the highest the party has won since the BJP took charge of the reins in the state, and the next assembly elections are due in December next year.
According to party sources, among the contenders for the post of GPCC president are Shaktisinh Gohil, Rajya Sabha MP Arjun Modhwadia, former GPCC president and former union minister Bharatsinh Solanki.
Solanki who has been camping in Delhi, has added to the speculation.
Currently, Amit Chavda is the interim president of GPCC as on March 2 this year, he had submitted his resignation from the post owing to the poor performance of the party in local body polls.
According to a senior party leader, “Congress stands an even stronger chance to win in 2022, as now the BJP cannot blame it for non-performance in the local bodies, where we barely won any seats”. This leader, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “The fact is that people are angry with the BJP but it is our party’s failure as an opposition to be not able to channelise this anger (to its advantage)”.
Chavda, 45, a four-time MLA from Anklav, was appointed as GPCC president in early 2018, replacing veteran leader Bharatsinh Solanki who is also his cousin. The appointment of Chavda was seen as a move made by the Congress party high command to choose a “young leader” ahead of 2019 general elections. However, in the 2019 polls, the Congress party could not manage to win even a single seat.
Following the 2019 debacle, the Gujarat Congress saw eight of its MLAs quit amid allegations of poaching made by Congress. In July 2020, the AICC appointed young Patidar leader Hardik Patel as the working president of GPCC while retaining Chavda as the president. However, Patel, had told The Indian Express in an interview earlier this year that he thought the party leaders were “trying to pull him down”.
Meanwhile, with the demise of 46-year-old Satav, AICC in-charge of Gujarat, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, the party is looking to put in a new incharge for Gujarat ahead of assembly elections in 2022.
A senior Congress party functionary said, “We are expecting that in the coming few days, the AICC will announce the new president. However, by procedure, the party high command will first appoint the AICC in charge of Gujarat and the observer will first visit the state to speak to the workers, understand their concerns and then take a decision.”
Bharatsinh Solanki told The Indian Express, “The issue of selecting GPCC president is the prerogative of the party high command. I have been travelling to Delhi many times… There are many other important issues to discuss with the party high command.”
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