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Gujarat Congress Chief May Not Contest Polls as Party Does the Balancing Act

Solanki's decision to not contest is also an indicator that Congress may not project a CM-face against chief minister Vijay Rupani.

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Updated:November 19, 2017, 6:35 PM IST
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Gujarat Congress Chief May Not Contest Polls as Party Does the Balancing Act
Bharatsinh Solanki indicated he is responsible for the party's performance in all 182 constituencies. (Photo: PTI)
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Ahmedabad: Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee chief Bharatsinh Solanki may opt out of electoral contest in the upcoming state assembly polls.

The former union minister has indicated that as the state Congress president, he is responsible for the party's performance in all 182 constituencies.

Solanki's decision to not contest is also an indicator that Congress may not project a CM-face against chief minister Vijay Rupani.

Party vice-president Rahul Gandhi has already toured Gujarat five times in the last months and the poll contest may boil down to another battle between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rahul.

Solanki- son of former state CM Madhavsinh Solanki- is a three-time MLA and has been elected Member of Parliament twice. He comes from the influential Kshatriya community in central Gujarat.

The decision not to field Solanki also alludes towards the fine balancing act the party is attempting to keep all large and electorally influential social groups interested. It is being seen as an attempt to paper over the traditional Patel-Kshatriya rivalry in the state.

Congress this election season is aggressively wooing a section of the Patidar community, the bedrock of BJP's resurgence in Gujarat after it was handed a comprehensive defeat by Solanki senior in 1985.

It is expected that some close aides of Hardik Patal, may be accommodated by the Congress in its first list to be released soon.

With only two days left to file nominations, the Congress list has been delayed by PAAS playing hardball and factionalism within the party.

While the Hardik Patel-led Patidar group has demanded around 20 seats from the Congress quota, Alpesh Thakor-led OBC group has demanded 12 seats. Thakor had joined the Congress recently.

Moreover, groupism and dissension in the state Congress unit is also said to be a reason behind the delay in finalising candidates.
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