Gujarat elections: Congress’s Bharatsinh Solanki not to contest polls
Ahmedabad: State Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki on Sunday said he would not contest Gujarat elections next month even as he dismissed reports that he was not happy with the party high command over the selection of candidates.
Solanki’s announcement assumes significance against the backdrop of the delay on the part of the Congress in releasing its first candidate list for Gujarat elections. The deadline for filing nominations for the first phase of elections, slated for 9 December, ends on 21 November. The ruling BJP has already declared names of 106 out of 182 seats by releasing two candidate lists so far.
“I have declared it earlier and I’m declaring it today as well that I will not fight Gujarat elections,” said Solanki. On reports that he was not happy with the party top brass over distribution of tickets, Solanki said it is not true. “Some people started the campaign against me that I am not happy with the party high command and had left the Central Election Committee (CEC) meeting half way in Delhi (last week) to return to the state,” he told reporters.
Stating that he is “not unhappy with the party high command”, Solanki said he returned to Gujarat as he had some important work at hand regarding electioneering. “The party has done so much for me. I have won two Lok Sabha polls and has handled three ministry with independent charge. I was elected as an MLA thrice,” he said.
When asked if he has ruled himself out of the chief minister’s race if Congress is voted to power, Solanki said it is the discretion of the party high command to decide the chief minister. Asked why he went to his home in Borsad straightway from Delhi if he was not unhappy with the party, Solanki said he went there because he had not visited his home for the last three and half months.
The CEC meeting, chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, was held in Delhi on 17 November. Solanki said he would help Congress win maximum seats in the polls as he is a loyal soldier of the party. He said the first list of the Congress candidates is likely to be out on Sunday night.
When asked if the Congress will give tickets to members of the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), he replied in the affirmative. “Though PAAS members have not asked for tickets, the Congress will give them tickets in the interest of the party,” he said.
Regarding the Congress’s seat-sharing agreement with the NCP and the Sharad Yadav faction of Janata Dal (United), Solanki said that talks are on and the outcome is awaited.