Guj Cong on boil as Kolis demand their pound of flesh

Guj Cong on boil as Kolis demand their pound of flesh

After ruling BJP in Gujarat faced flak from Patel and Koli communities on portfolio allocation to their leaders in the newly-formed Vijay Rupani ministry, on Monday the virus hit the key Opposition party Congress.

The Koli community wanted the Congress to appoint their leader and Jasdan legislator Kunwarji Bavaliya as the leader of opposition in the state legislative assembly instead of Amreli MLA and Patel leader Paresh Dhanani. Dhanani was last week appointed to the post by Congress high command after a claimed consensus among its elected members of the assembly.

The BJP government had faced trouble from Patidars on non-allocation of 'respectable' portfolio to deputy chief minister Nitin Patel and later from koli community for not 'respecting' seniority of fisheries minister Purushottam Solanki.

Now, to make itself heard, the Koli community has planned a massive rally in support of Bavaliya on Wednesday in Ahmedabad. A Koli strongman, Bavaliya, has personally not yet come out in open to announce his displeasure. He had thrown his hat in the ring earlier for the post to which he was pipped by Dhanani. "I am satisified with the high command's decision. The event on the 10th is entirely social and has no connection with any demand," he told reporters.

However, observers believe that it could be a difficult task for Congress and state leadership to pacify the Koli community, a part of the Other Backward Caste (OBC) with sizeable presence in Saurashtra region. In 2017 Assembly polls, Congress had wrest 30 of the 54 seats in Saurashtra-Kutch region from BJP after a gap of over two decades.

Koli meet  

The meeting has been called under the aegis of Akhil Bharatiya Koli Samaj, to which presidents and general secretaries of all the state Koli community units have been invited to discuss "about the serious issue of political parties ignoring the Koli samaj". The meeting notice has been   signed by Chandravadan Pithawala, president of Gujarat state Akhil Bharatiya Koli Samaj.

"We are more than four decade-old organisation and if BJP can appoint a Koli to country's Presidential post, Congress could have considered a Koli representative for the important position of leader of opposition in the state Assembly," a senior Koli leader said.

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