Paresh Dhanani, the 41-year-old Who May Lead the Congress Charge in Gujarat Assembly
41-year-old Paresh Dhanani came out on top in his fight against BJP’s Bavku Undhad in the Patidar dominated Amreli district of Saurashtra.
File photo Paresh Dhanani. (Twitter)
Ahmedabad: A firebrand Patidar leader with age on his side, Congress’ Paresh Dhanani is set to shoulder bigger responsibilities in the party and possibly, the Gujarat assembly.
While many stalwarts of the grand old party ending up on the loser list in the 2017 Gujarat Assembly Elections, the 41-year-old came out on top in his fight against BJP’s Bavku Undhad in the Patidar dominated Amreli district of Saurashtra.
He defeated Undhad of the BJP by a margin of 12,029 votes, his third victory in a row. His campaign heavily featured the agrarian crisis faced by the cotton growers that dominate the constituency.
Over the past couple of years, Dhanani emerged as the most vociferous voice in the Congress party. Recently, he sat on a dharna outside the Vidhan Sabha after being suspended by the speaker for being unruly in the assembly. His suspension was revoked and he was allowed into the house later.
Most importantly, though, Dhanani enjoys the goodwill of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and had accompanied him on several election rallies.
He also checks the two boxes of caste calculation and farmer support that Congress needs to consolidate the support base it has cultivated in Saurashtra during this election.
The party’s strong performance in the region - Congress won 30 seats and BJP 23- has been attributed as much, or even more, to farmer distress, as to Patidar support.
Saurashtra is the biggest grower of cotton and groundnut. The non-remunerative produce and the inadequate procurement process irked the farmers and they wiped out the BJP from three out of 11 districts.
With senior Congress leaders – Shaktisinh Gohil, Arjun Modhwadia, Siddharth Patel, Tushar Chaudhary among others – losing the Gujarat assembly elections, young leaders like Dhanani, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani will definitely get bigger roles to play in the opposition.
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