Gujarat fisheries minister and Koli leader Purshottam Solanki on Thursday said Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has assured to allocate him a “better” portfolio in the next cabinet expansion. In a related development, supporters of another BJP MLA, Jetha Bharwad, sought that he be made a minister in the state government. However, the legislator clarified that he did not make any such demand.
Earlier, Solanki, who was unhappy over the allocation of portfolios in the new BJP government in Gujarat, had skipped the state cabinet meeting yesterday. Demanding that “good” departments be allocated to their leader, Solanki’s supporters, led by his brother and former BJP MLA Hira Solanki, gathered at the minister’s residence at Gandhinagar on Wednesday. However, Solanki said that the chief minister has assured that justice will be done to him.
“The chief minister called me yesterday after the Koli community members gathered at my residence. During the meeting, Rupani assured that I will be given a better department when the next cabinet expansion takes place after one-and-a-half months, that is after the Assembly session,” he told reporters in Gandhinagar.
“Though there was no discussion about any specific department, the meeting was very positive as the chief minister assured that justice will be done to me,” Solanki said. He also thanked the Koli community for standing firmly behind him. “The Kolis are always with the party and we all will work together for the party,” the BJP leader said.
The disgruntled Koli leader yesterday said his community feels that he should be given some more portfolios. He claimed that despite being a five-time MLA, he was ignored by the leadership while several “juniors” have been given “good portfolios”. The Koli community strongman has been given fisheries department as a minister of state. Solanki held the same portfolio as a MoS in the previous government under Chief Minister Rupani.
After assuming charge on January 2, Solanki had openly expressed his displeasure at being given only one department, stating that the chief minister was having 12 portfolios with him while other ministers were also heading many departments. Meanwhile, the supporters of five-time MLA Bharwad on Wednesday demanded in his constituency that their leader is made a minister in the state government.
Clarifying his stand on the issue, Bharwad, who represents the Shehra seat in Panchmahal district, said he never demanded anything from the party. “I was never unhappy and I never made any demand. I learnt yesterday that my supporters are unhappy because I have not been made a minister. I immediately called them not to engage in such indiscipline,” he told reporters. Bharwad said he is not in public life out of greed. “I am happy to be an MLA. It is not in my nature to put forward such demands,” he added.