Cong deliberating on new in-charge, state president in Gujarat

After the demise of Rajeev Satav, the Congress is yet to announce the in-charge for Gujarat while sources say after the bypoll and municipality debacle a change of state president is on the cards.

Arjun Modwadia, a former state president, is the frontrunner but Bharat Singh Solanki is also in the fray. Solanki is a former Union Minister and son of former Gujarat Chief Minister Madhav Sinh Solanki and is a strong contender. He was in Delhi to meet former Congress president Rahul Gandhi recently but sources say Rahul Gandhi did not meet him as he was not well. Attempts to reach him did not yield any result.

Modwadia hails from Porbandar and was at the helm of the party when Narendra Modi was Chief Minister of Gujarat and is a forceful voice against the BJP. Modwadia refused to comment and said, “It is an internal party matter who gets what, the mission is to defeat the BJP in the state.”

The party has seen defections and it is said that the local state leadership is unable to hold on to the MLAs.

The other person whose name is being taken is Shakti Singh Gohil who is a Rajya Sabha MP and in-charge of Delhi but as he is a MP so the chances are less to send him to the state. Young Patidar leader Hardik Patel who is the working president of the party is also being considered but sources in the AICC said that a senior and strong leader who knows the nuances of the state politics will be given charge ahead of the assembly elections.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi recently met senior leaders of the party and discussed the leadership issues of the states and a change in the AICC setup. The process of appointing a state president may start after the appointment of a new in-charge.

In between Congress’ Gujarat Working President Hardik Patel on Monday had accused the BJP of circulating false reports of his joining the AAP in an attempt to malign his image and hide the state government’s failure in dealing with the second wave of the Covid pandemic.

“The reports from various media quarters that I am going to join the Aam Aadmi Party and become its face for the next elections in Gujarat are quite surprising. These reports are malicious in intent and are being released at the behest of the BJP in order to create confusion among the Congress supporters and the wider Patidar community.

The Congress, which posed a tough challenge to the BJP in the last assembly polls was decimated in the 2021 municipality polls as the BJP had swept the state. Surprisingly the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has made inroads in Gujarat’s urban centres which is a bigger threat to the Congress.

The Congress lost all the Lok Sabha seats in the state in the 2019 General Elections.