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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Tribal leader, four-time Cong MLA to lead party in Assembly

According to officials of Gujarat Congress, the name of Rathva was proposed by Rahul Gandhi and AICC Gujarat in-charge Raghu Sharma as the LOP to replace Paresh Dhanani who had resigned from his post early March this year.

By: Express News Service | Gandhinagar, Vadodara |
December 4, 2021 1:25:11 am
Jagdish Thakor and Rathva being welcomed at the party office in Gandhinagar. Express photo

Sukhram Rathva, 66, a tribal leader and four-time Congress MLA from Pavi Jetpur constituency in Chhota Udepur was unanimously elected as the Leader of Opposition (LOP) for the Gujarat Assembly Friday evening in an all MLA meeting held in Gandhinagar.

According to officials of Gujarat Congress, the name of Rathva was proposed by Rahul Gandhi and AICC Gujarat in-charge Raghu Sharma as the LOP to replace Paresh Dhanani who had resigned from his post early March this year.

Rathva was in Delhi on Thursday along with newly appointed Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Jagdish Thakor for a discussion with Gandhi and Sharma.

After both of them arrived in Ahmedabad on Friday, an all-MLAs meet was called by the Congress party in Gandhinagar on Friday evening under the leadership of Raghu Sharma. As many as 55 MLAs out of total 65 Congress MLAs attended the meet, said sources. The absentee Congress MLAs later gave their support through proxy voting.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Manish Doshi, spokesperson, GPCC said, “Sukhram Rathva is a respected tribal leader from Central Gujarat who has risen from an extremely humble background as a dedicated Congress worker. Apart from being an excellent orator, he has good grip on ground-level politics in central Gujarat and is respected among all sections of the tribal community. Today, his name was proposed by outgoing LOP Paresh Dhanani and all MLAs present in the meet unanimously gave their support to Rathva. Now as per procedure, an official letter will be sent to Congress president regarding his candidature being accepted by Gujarat Congress MLAs and a gazette notification will be released. With Rathva being the LOP, Congress will benefit from the social engineering of OBC, Patidar and Tribal communities in Gujarat.”

Rathva, is a farmer by profession and began as a Youth Congress leader in the early 1970s. He was a member of the Vadodara District Panchayat in 1975. He was also an elected member of the Chhota Udepura taluka panchayat from 1980 to 1985, when Chhota Udepur was still part of the Vadodara district.
Thereafter, Rathva won four consecutive terms as MLA of Chhota Udepur assembly constituency (part of Vadodara district) from 1985 to 1998. He contested the Pavi Jetpur constituency in 2017 and defeated sitting BJP MLA Jayanti Rathwa from the constituency.

Rathva is known to raise issues related to the tribal area development. In March this year, Rathva had also raised the issue of the closure of Chhota Udepur district’s only Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care (CEmONC) centre at Jabugam, which catered to a tribal population of close to 12 lakhs as well as other parts of the state. Rathva had also raised the issue of the appointment of health staff and doctors for vacant posts in tribal districts, in the Assembly earlier this year.

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