Veteran Congress leader and four-time chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki has blamed the “poor leadership of the Congress” in Gujarat for the party being out of power in the state for over two decades and called for “strong and efficient leadership”. He, however, also said that the party’s new leadership under Congress president Rahul Gandhi could revive the Congress’s fortunes.
“There is problem of leadership in the Congress in Gujarat. The party requires strong and efficient leadership. It must identify itself with the common masses if it wants to regain its position… Congressmen should not consider themselves as leaders, but should identify themselves with common people and show that they are one of them… The Congress is out of power for over 20 years due to poor leadership,” Solanki said while addressing Congress leaders and workers who had come from all over the state to greet him on his 92nd birthday here.
Interestingly, Solanki’s son, Bharatsinh Solanki, has headed the party’s state unit for two terms — for close to six years — and his close relative, Amit Chavda, has been leading the party in Gujarat for nearly a year.
Praising Rahul Gandhi, the Congress veteran said that the party’s fortunes could be revived under the new Congress president. “The new leadership under Congress president Rahul Gandhi might be able to restore the people’s confidence in the Congress and bring it back to power in Gujarat as also at the national level… Rahul is very receptive and tries to listen and understand people. This is a good quality in him, which is required to become a good leader,” he told party leaders.
Solanki who served as Gujarat CM four times — December 1976 to April 1977, June 1980 to March 1985, March 1985 to July 1985 and December 1989 to March 1990 — is famous for inventing KHAM (Kshatriya, Harijan, Adivasi, Muslim) equation that won the Congress a record 149 of the 182 seats in the Assembly in 1985 elections. In 1980, the Congress under his leadership won 141 Assembly seats. He also served as External Affairs Minister, between June 1991and March 1992 — in the P V Narasimha Rao Cabinet.