In light of the political wisdom from the 2017 assembly elections, the Gujarat Congress is scrutinizing veterans like Bharat Sinh Solanki, Arjun Modhwadia and Siddharth Patel. In the Congress circle, it’s being stressed that past election failures are due to the stubbornness of senior leadership.
Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president Jagdishbhai Thakor and AICC in-charge for Gujarat, Raghu Sharma is nurturing a new leadership that is young and vibrant. The old veterans continue to hold talks with Thakor, Sharma and the Leader of the Opposition Sukhram Rathwa; but decisions are not favouring the veterans.
These veterans are upset as they are being sidelined by the state and central leadership. The displeasure of veterans is too neglected without any sentiment.
Gujarat Congress adopted a new political road map after the core committee meeting held on April 6. Jagdish Thakor, Dr Raghu Sharma and others have talked to leaders of different factions. One of the strategies is to politely keep away the old veterans from taking ground decisions. This strategy of Dr Raghu Sharma is supported by the high command.
One of the other notable strategies of the Congress was the appointment of new and young leadership to various fronts of the Gujarat Congress. It is visible in Mahila Congress, Tribal Congress, Scheduled Caste Congress, other language speaking cells and PCC.
Bharat Sinh Solanki
Bharat Sinh Solanki, the former Union Minister of State for Railways and the son of former Chief Minister Madhav Sinh Solanki, is neglected by the High Command. He stayed in Delhi for three days to meet the high command, but he couldn’t. He also tried to contact Rahul Gandhi with the help of Nikhil Alva and Krishna Allavaru, but treportedly, there was no response.
Solanki is longing to meet the high command these days. Now he is facing Rahul Gandhi’s displeasure, which was evident during the Dwarka Chintan Shibir. Recently, the “Anand Kand” incident too had paved the way for High Command to distance him”, a source said.
Solanki was also absent from Azadi Gaurav Yatra which commenced from the Gandhi Ashram on 6th April. Now, he is not seen in the public programs of Congress.
Once, the Gujarat state chief Jagdish Thakor was his supporter. But it is evident from the recent decisions of the state Congress, like the appointment of district chiefs, Bharat Singh Solanki’s once “many loved ones” shunned him.
Arjun Modhwadia, a former Gujarat Congress chief and leader of the opposition, is also facing the same fate as Bharat Sinh Solanki. Modhwadia, who was close to Ahmed Patel, failed to do the same with the high command even after all efforts.
During the Dwarka convention, Rahul Gandhi said, “if senior Leaders try to win 2 seats, we will form the government”. NCP MLA Kandhal Jadeja’s growing proximity to Congress could also be troublesome for Arjun Modhwadia.
Modhwadia’s “long list” is not included in the decision. The claim of “displeasure” of not getting enough representation according to the numbers of Muslims in the new PCC had also failed. As it was also not visible in the appointments on various cell fronts. With the help of activism, he is trying to maintain his reach to his supporters.
Siddharth Patel, the son of former Chief Minister Chiman Patel and former state chief ICCC secretary, is currently facing extinction from politics. He had lost three consecutive elections from Dabhoi which was once Patel’s face.
Siddharth was not even involved in the conversation before the entry of Naresh Patel. Due to the closeness of Hardik Patel to Priyanka Gandhi and the increasing interference among the Patel community, the Congress’s Patel has also snatched the place of “Poster Boy” of politics, his supporters are also looking for a new abode with time.
Siddhartha’s silence in the core committee meeting chaired by Raghu Sharma on 6th April is enough to explain the situation. Once the “Janata Dal” used to be in the Congress, but now the situation is that the Janata Dal has only one representation in the new PCC, that too from Surat, Jagdish Thakor’s quota.
This Patel leader, who was close to Sonia Gandhi, is not able to form chemistry with Rahul Gandhi and his team. He is also tired of not getting any results after many visits to Delhi. After the weakening grip in Gujarat politics, there is no chance for him to even try to make a place in AICC, nor any responsibility in other states.
Hardik Patel is taking a toll on him everywhere.
Tushar Choudhary, son of Amar SinhChoudhary, the only tribal chief minister of Gujarat and Union minister of state for five consecutive years in UPA-II, is also troubled by the neglect of the high command. The opponents of this tribal leader from South Gujarat got a lot of space in the PCC, while not a single supporter could get a place.
He was not even called to the review meeting of his home district, Surat. Even at the Dwarka convention, there was no place for him on the day. Tushar Chaudhary, who has been the working president of Gujarat twice, has not yet been able to get the appointments of his choice in Surat city and district. MLA Anant Patel came in the eyes of Rahul Gandhi, despite his activism in all the demonstrations organized against the Tapi-Par-Narmada River Link Project.
In the last two months, Rahul Gandhi has had a long meeting with Anant Patel thrice. He has also been made the chief of the Gujarat Adivasi Congress. Sukhram Rathwa and Anant Patel also represented the Journalists’ Council held in Delhi. But this veteran leader did not get a place. Choudhary, who never saw the door of another leader during the time of Ahmed Patel, is trying to get his ground with the help of the activation of Congress events. But they are deprived of the eyes of the high command.
This young Turk, who was once close to Rahul Gandhi, has been put under siege in his home district itself. Even Paresh Dhanani, even being the previous Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani, his rival in Amreli, Virjibhai Thummar is most welcomed in the party.
Virji’s daughter Jenny Thummar had been made the chief of Mahila Congress. State chief Amit Chavda, who resigned along with Paresh, looks like a shadow of Jagdish Thakor, but Paresh remains missing. According to Congress sources, the high command is upset with Paresh.
Even as Leader of Opposition, Paresh could not become a Patel leader, nor could he get out of Amreli. In the case of Naresh Patel too, despite being a Patel leader, he was not made a mediator. Hardik Patel’s growing influence in Congress is also a hindrance to Paresh.