Amidst the rising chorus of dissatisfaction after their MPs were overlooked during the latest reshuffle of the Union cabinet last Monday,Koli leaders of the state Sunday decided to make representations to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and demand justice for the community.
Under the aegis of Kunvarji Bavalia,Congress MP from Rajkot and arguably the tallest Koli leader of the party,Congress leaders from Rajkot,Bhavnagar,Junagadh,Amreli,Surendranagar and Ahmedabad districts held a meeting at Bavalias educational campus in Amprapur village in Jansdan taluka of Rajkot district.
Besides Bavalia,the meeting was attended by Bhola Gohil,Congress MLA from Jansdan,Karamshi Patel,Congress MLA form Sanand in Ahmedabad and Pravin Rathod,Congress MLA form Palitana in Bhavnagar. Jethabhai Jora,former Congress MLA from Junagadh and around 70 other members of various district and taluka panchayats as well as municipal corporations were present at the meeting.
However,Surendranagar Congress MP Soma Patel did not attend the meeting saying he was not informed in advance. Nor did Punja Vansh,Congress MLA from Una and a Koli leader remained present saying he was busy in a bye-election for a local body in his constituency.
We have formed a 21-member committee to convey the grievances of the community to party leaders. The committee will first meet Gujarat in-charge Gurudas Kamath on June 26 in Ahmedabad and subsequently to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Bavalia said after the meeting.
The community has been loyal to Congress for decades but there is a feeling now that it is not being given due representation in government and party organisation. There is strong discontent in Saurashtra after what happened (during cabinet reshuffle), Bavalia said. He felt either him or Soma Patel or Jamnagar MP Vikram Madam should have been given a birth in Union council of minister to give representation to Saurashtra,he added.
However,Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi downplayed the meeting. It was organised to discuss educational and social issues of the Koli community. It is a welcome move to mobilise the community ahead of 2014 elections, said Doshi.