Gujarat Cong gives grand welcome to new state prez, LoP

Gujarat Congress gives grand welcome to new state president, LoP

The party gathered a large number of workers and supporters to welcome the new leaders

Newly appointed Gujarat Congress President Jagdish Thakor greets party workers while being garlanded during a function to take charge of the office, at Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan in Ahmedabad. Credit: PTI photo

The Gujarat Congress sounded the poll bugle on Monday by organising a grand reception for newly appointed state party president Jagdish Thakor and leader of opposition (LoP) Sukhram Rathwa outside the party headquarters in Ahmedabad.

In a show of strength ahead of 2022 Assembly polls, the party gathered a large number of workers and supporters to welcome the new leaders.

64-year-old ex-MP Thakor, belonging to strong Other Backward Caste (OBC), and party MLA from central Gujarat Rathva, a tribal, took over the charge of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee's President and LoP respectively in a grand function held in front of Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan, the party's headquarters in Paldi.

Almost all the top state leaders including four past presidents-Amit Chavda, Bharatsinh Solanki, Arjun Modhwadia and Siddarth Patel, State Working President Hardik Patel, independent MLA Jignesh Mevani, among other leaders, were present on the occasion on the stage. In their speeches, the Congress leaders attacked the ruling BJP and said that "defeating BJP in Gujarat" would be the key to defeat the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In their speeches, Congress leaders attacked BJP government and said that after sensing defeat in 2022 Assembly poll, "rubber stamp Vijay Rupani" and his group of ministers were sacked. "After removing one rubber stamp, BJP brought Bhupendrabhai, who is another rubber stamp," Solanki said in his public speech. He claimed that "it is CR Paatil (Gujarat BJP president), a suspended head constable, who is actually running the state government."

Invoking Paatil's origins in Maharashtra, Solanki said that "Gujarat can't be ruled by anyone other than Gujaratis." He also said that the Gujarat government is being "administered" by an IAS officer, who retired back in 2013, but continues to run the government to "cover corruption that took place during the time of then chief minister Narendra Modi."

The new President Thakor, meanwhile, focused on issues related to farmers and unemployment while speaking about "roadmap" of the party to launch the poll campaign. He said that his party would waive off all loans of farmers and ensure job for 50 lakh unemployed youths.

Several Congress insiders, DH spoke to, said that "it is early signs of a possible revival of the party before the upcoming Assembly polls, but it is too soon to predict anything. There are some leaders and their supporters who are upset with the new appointments." They said that the party is focusing on OBC, Tribals, Dalits and Muslims, their core voters, beside cosying up with Patidars, the most influential voters in the state.

The party has Hardik Patel who has been given prominence with the post of working president while recently ex-president and former union minister Bharatsinh Solanki met Naresh Patel triggering a speculation over the latter joining politics. Patel is a prominent Patidar leader and president of Shree Khodaldham Trust, which manages Khodaldham temple, the shrine of Leuva Patel community's deity goddess Khodiyar in Rajkot. Hardik Patel told reporters later on Monday that "Congress would give Naresh Patel red carpet welcome if he joins."

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