Congress remains rudderless in Gujarat for past six months

Both State unit president and CLP leader quit the posts in March

It has been more than six months since Gujarat Congress president Amit Chavda and CLP leader Paresh Dhanani resigned from their posts following the debacle in the local elections but the Opposition party has not been able to find their replacements.

Both Mr. Chavda and Mr. Dhanani had resigned in the first week of March and their resignations were accepted by the party. Subsequently in mid May, AICC general secretary in-charge of the affairs in Gujarat Rajeev Satav died of post COVID-19 complications but the party is yet to name his successor for the State.

As the high command’s indecision prolongs, local leaders have been pressing for organisational appointments so that the party can start the preparations for the crucial Assembly polls scheduled for December next year.

“We have requested the high command for the appointments,” said Mr. Chavda, who has been helming the unit in the absence of a successor.

“For the last two months, we keep hearing that the new in-charge will be appointed next week but that week has not come yet,” said a senior leader, who and other leaders have visited the top leaders in Delhi to stress on appointments of office-bearers urgently.

The State leaders had in June requested former president Rahul Gandhi to make the appointments quickly when he visited Surat in connection with a legal case.

Subsequently in July, more than a dozen party leaders flew to the national capital to knock at the doors of the high command again to press for the appointments of state in-charge, PCC chief and the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly.

“We were told that by August 15, there will be a new PCC and other top office-bearers in place but today it’s September 27th and there is yet no sign of any movement about the appointments,” a party legislator said, adding that the ruling BJP has changed its entire Cabinet and the Chief Minister within 48 hours.

In the 2017 Assembly polls, the party saw revival in its fortunes when it won 80 seats, its best performance since 1985. However, the revival remained short-lived as around a dozen legislators had left to join the BJP while in local elections, it was wiped out from districts and taluk panchayats.

According to the party insiders, Rajya Sabha member Shaktisinh Gohil has staked his claim for PCC chief post before interim chief Sonia Gandhi. Officially, Mr. Gohil maintains that he is not interested in the post.

“He is interested in the job but his electoral track record does not inspire the high command. Also, he hardly has any base,” a leader from Delhi told The Hindu.

The other two contenders are Bharatsinh Solanki, former Union Minister and party president twice, and Arjun Modhvadia, who was also party chief and CLP leader.

The party legislators have conveyed to the leadership that an OBC face will be more suitable to take on the BJP, which has recently installed a Patidar leader and first-time legislator Bhupendra Patel as the Chief Minister replacing Mr. Vijay Rupani.

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