Post-poll troubles: Congress may face fresh dissidence in Gujarat

Virendra Pandit | | Updated on: Jun 27, 2018

On a day the BJP went hammer and tongs against the Congress across the country, on the 43rd anniversary of the imposition of Internal Emergency in 1975, the Grand Old Party (GOP) appeared to be facing fresh trouble in Gujarat and Karnataka, the newest states in which it has managed to revive itself in the last six months.

While dissidence has cropped up in the Gujarat Congress, Karnataka’s former BJP CM, B.S. Yeddyyurappa, met party chief Amit Shah here on Monday in what is seen as fresh attempts to fish in the troubled political waters of the southern state, where the month-old JD(S)-Congress Government led by HD Kumaraswamy is facing dissidence in both the parties that had joined hands in an uneasy alliance to keep the BJP out of power.

Until last month, the Congress was hoping that a “dissident” Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel would quit the ruling BJP along with nearly 25 party MLAs. Yesterday, however, the GOP found its own prominent Saurashtra leader, former MLA Indranil Rajyaguru, resigning from the party. Rajyaguru had unsuccessfully contested the Assembly elections against Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in December 2017 from Rajkot.

Insisting that he is not joining the BJP, Rajyaguru announced his resignation from all posts he held in the Gujarat Congress, accusing the party leadership in the state on various counts. He questioned the “style of functioning” of the state leaders. Gujarat Pradesh Congress President Amit Chawda was not apparently aware of Rajyaguru’s resignation, as he claimed he came to know of it only via media.

In fact, after its improved performance in the Assembly polls, and appointment of Chawda, the party’s senior leadership --- former GPCC chiefs Bharatsinh Solanki, Arjun Modhwadia and Siddharth Patel — have virtually ‘disappeared’ from the political scene, at being “ignored” by the new leadership. The Congress had increased its tally in the Vidhan Sabha to 77 from 43 in the Assembly polls, but has virtually slipped into hibernation since.

The party head office in Ahmedabad also appears ‘headless’ and Chawda, a political novice, is ‘clueless’, party leaders lament. Paresh Dhanani, Leader of the Opposition in the Vidhan Sabha, too, has not been able to encash the Patidars’ issues, despite his being from the same community. Senior Congress legislators, including Koli leader Kunwarji Bawalia and Muslim leader Javed Hussain Peerzada, have expressed dissatisfaction over different issues against their own party leadership in recent weeks, although Chawda has denied any dissidence. Former MP Jivabhai Patel quit the party recently and other senior leaders, including Vikram Madam, have also vent their spleen against the party leadership.

Incidentally, Rajyaguru and Bawalia are seen as bitter rivals in Saurashtra politics and the former has accused the party leadership of ‘promoting’ the latter’s supporters, who had indulged in anti-party activities during the last Assembly polls.

Dhanani, on his part, attributed this fresh bout of dissidence to the BJP’s alleged attempts to buy out important Congress leaders and, at the same time, the latter’s pressure tactics to extract their pound of flesh at the time of the Lok Sabha elections next year.

Published on June 27, 2018
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