The newly-appointed Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) chief Bharatsinh Solanki took charge on Saturday, at a function here where hundreds of party workers were present. Former minister in the UPA-II government, Solanki declared that the work of weakening the foundation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi would begin from Gujarat. He asked party workers to be ready for an aggressive agitation against the anti-people policies of the state government.
Sixty-one-year old Solanki, who had also been the president of the party between 2006-2008, said that there was no factionalism in the party. “There is no factionalism in the party. If there is any faction, it is one faction in which all the leaders of the party are united under the leadership of Mrs Sonia Gandhi. There is no other faction,” Solanki declared, expecting all the leaders to support him. Appreciating media for its “objective reporting” about the performance of the BJP government in the state, he said that Congress needed to go to the grassroots level in every village and ward to mobilise the people and strengthen the party.
With a degree in civil engineering, Solanki replaced Arjun Modhwadia, who steered the organisation for four years since 2011, a period which was most unfavourable for the party, owing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s influence and immense popularity over people across the state. Solanki was also an MLA for three terms between 1995-2004.
He was deputy leader of opposition in the state assembly for a year in 2004. He was elected to Lok Sabha in 2004 and 2009 from his family bastion of Anand, but lost to the BJP in 2014 Parliamentary polls. Solanki, who is among the few leaders to head GPCC for two terms, also appreciated outgoing party chief Arjun Modhwadia.
Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel, who could not make it to the function due to his busy schedule in Delhi during the ongoing Parliament session, sent a message wishing Solanki the best. The message was read out by GPCC secretary Nishith Vyas.
Speaking on the occasion, Modhwadia said that only the Congress had the potential to challenge the fascist forces in the country. He said that during his tenure as party president, he boldly faced the “fascist elements” in the state assembly and outside with the support of his party colleagues. The leader of Opposition in the state assembly, Shankersinh Vaghela, making fun of the BJP over its humiliating defeat in Delhi polls, said that “the biggest challenge for the party leadership is to win the trust of people”.
Appreciating Modhwadia for leading the party for four years under extremely difficult circumstances, AICC general secretary and party’s in-charge in the state, Gurudas Kamat hoped that the party would win political power again under the leadership of Solanki in 2017 assembly elections. Senior leader Shaktisinh Gohil said, “It is the responsibility of all of us to ensure that the party performs well.”