Bharatsinh Solanki is learnt to have resigned as Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president on Sunday. However, a statement released by his office late on Monday said, “There is no truth in the talks about my resignation.”
Solanki is likely to go on a vacation to the United States on March 21 for two-and-a-half months. Solanki, who was appointed as state party chief in December 2015, had earlier led the party in the state between 2005 and 2007.
Congress sources said that Solanki submitted his resignation to party president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday after the AICC’s 84th plenary session. Solanki and AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot, who is in-charge of the party’s Gujarat affairs, remained incommunicado as their cellphones remained switched off on Monday.
According to sources, Gandhi was not happy with Solanki’s performance and was likely to replace him in view of the next general elections. Solanki was denied a ticket to the Rajya Sabha even after he stepped aside from the Assembly contest, which was seen as an indication of the party sidelining him. “After Solanki got a hint that he is being replaced, he handed over the resignation letter to Rahul Gandhi,” said a source.
Sources said among the common complaints of party leaders and workers against Solanki was his inaccessibility. After taking over the party’s Gujarat chief post, Solanki had asked party leaders in the state to take advance appointments if they wanted to meet him, which created distance between him and party workers.
He earned the displeasure of the high command after eight of the party legislators cross-voted during the Rajya Sabha elections in August last year and Congress nominee Ahmed Patel won with a thin margin with the support of then JD(U) legislator Chhotubhai Vasava. One of the main reasons behind the cross-voting was reported to be Solanki’s inaccessibility to legislators.
According to sources, Arjun Modhwadia is now being considered for the post because of his experience of leading the party between 2008 and 2012.