Several senior Congress leaders from Gujarat, including state party president Amit Chavda and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Paresh Dhanani, will be going to Delhi on Sunday to meet Rajeev Satav, the AICC general secretary in-charge of the state.
“Both Amit Chavda and Paresh Dhanani, along with many other senior leaders, have been summoned to Delhi for consultations on the issue of preparing strategy for rural and urban seats for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls,” a senior Congress leader told The Sunday Express.
Notably, Satav was in Ahmedabad on Saturday, and held discussions with party leaders from all the 26 Lok Sabha constituencies for the selection of candidates. A senior leader said that being a Lok Sabha member from Maharashtra, Satav has to be in Delhi to attend the ongoing winter session of the Parliament.
Putting the house in order is Cong priority
Things were going fine with the Congress in Gujarat till the party won the three states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. Then Jasdan Assembly bypoll happened, and Kunvarji Bavaliya, a powerful Koli leader who had quit the Congress to join the BJP, won by a thumping majority. Following his victory, which is said to have been focussed on empowering Kolis — the largest block among the OBC communities in Gujarat, holding sway over seats in Saurashtra and south Gujarat — further. Bavaliya's victory led to more cracks in the state Congress unit known for losing every electoral battle in the post-Modi era because of infighting among at least two known factions. Not surprisingly, before the Congress leadership “prepares” for the Lok Sabha elections, it first needs to make peace with its own people.
Interestingly, Chavda and Dhanani have been summoned to Delhi just days after senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia held a dinner for senior party leaders where they expressed their discontentment with Chavda’s leadership.
The dinner was attended by 15 Congress leaders. Among them were former state party president Siddharth Patel, former Union minister and tribal leader Tushar Chaudhary, sitting MLAs Alpesh Thakor and Shailesh Parmar, former MP Somabhai Patel, former Rajya Sabha member Rajubhai Parmar and Gujarat Pradesh Yuva Congress’ former president Indravijaysinh Gohil.
On the condition of anonymity, a party leader said that some disgruntled leaders had sought time with party chief Rahul Gandhi, but the latter categorically refused to meet them. Among the leaders who had sought an appointment with Rahul included three-time Rajya Sabha member Raju Parmar and Ahmedabad-based leader Sagar Raika. Both Parmar and Raika, said sources, are seeking party ticket to contest the Lok Sabha elections, but Satav and other senior leaders are inclined to field them.
According to sources, the number of ticket seekers in the party has also increased with party’s success in the Assembly elections in three states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Sources said that a large number of ticket hopefuls are lining up in each constituency.