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Rahul Gandhi Kills Two Birds With One Stone by Appointing Amit Chavda as Gujarat Congress Chief

Leader of Opposition, Paresh Dhanani, and Amit Chavda are 41. Quite clearly, the appointment of Dhanani and Chavda is part of a larger gameplan of Congress President Rahul Gandhi to revamp the state party unit by promoting the younger generation of leaders.

Meghdoot Sharon | CNN-News18

Updated:March 28, 2018, 6:24 PM IST
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Rahul Gandhi Kills Two Birds With One Stone by Appointing Amit Chavda as Gujarat Congress Chief
File photo of GPCC chief Amit Chavda.
Ahmedabad: The appointment of Amit Chavda as president of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee, replacing Bharatsinh Solanki, has not come as a surprise for many.

Thanking his party workers after the 2017 Gujarat assembly elections, then Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had said that it was time to infuse the party with young blood. It was time for a change in guard.

A couple of months down the line, both the state party chief and the leader of the opposition are young and aggressive politicians.

Leader of Opposition, Paresh Dhanani, and Chavda are 41. Quite clearly, the appointment of Dhanani and Chavda is part of a larger gameplan of Congress President Rahul Gandhi to revamp the state party unit by promoting the younger generation of leaders.

It is also a signal that the old timers – a few of whom could not even hold on to their Assembly seats in the recent election – will gradually be phased out too.

Appointing Chavda, an OBC strongman, serves two purposes for the Congress party high command. Firstly, its aim of energizing the party by getting more young leaders to the forefront is achieved. Secondly, any possible backlash from the Solanki faction also has been taken care of. Solanki and Chavda are first cousins with the former’s mother being the sister of the latter’s father.

Born on April 24, 1976, Chavda is the youngest GPCC President so far. With a degree in Chemical Engineering, Chavda has been elected Member of the Legislative Assembly for the fourth time in the recently concluded Gujarat Assembly elections. While he won the last two assembly elections from the Anklav constituency in Anand district, he won two prior elections from Borsad constituency in the same district.

Chavda began his political career in the late 1990s when he was appointed president of the Anand District Youth Congress. He got his first shot at being MLA in 2004, when he was fielded by the Congress party in a by-election from Borsad. In the subsequent Assembly election, Chavda retained the seat. He has won the last two Assembly elections from the Anklav seat with margins of over 30,000 each time.

Chavda was also appointed as deputy chief whip of the Congress Legislature Party in the Gujarat Assembly between 2012 and 2017 and worked as co-ordinator of the Gujarat central zone with the AICC secretary in-charge of Gujarat. Chavda has also been active in the co-operative sector in Anand besides being involved with about half a dozen social organisations in the region. He is presently chairman of the APMC Anklav, Director of the Anand District Co-operative Sangh and also a director with the Gujarat State Co-operative Bank.

With the likes of Dhanani, Chavda and Alpesh Thakore gaining prominence within the Congress and with leaders like Jignesh Mevani and Hardik Patel quite literally speaking the Congress’ language although they have not joined the party, the Congress’ Gujarat unit now takes the shape of a formidable opposition. And it is evident in the ongoing session of the Assembly, which has seen disruptions on almost a daily basis. For the BJP, having already been reduced to double-digit strength in the assembly for the first time in two decades, a battery of young Congress leaders in the opposition makes it that much more difficult.

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| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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