Ahmedabad: In what could spell trouble for Gujarat Congress ahead of the assembly polls later this year, its senior MLA Raghavjee Patel has slammed the party's state leaders accusing them of ignoring the Patidar community, a decisive vote bank in the state.
Patel, who represents Jamnagar-Rural assembly constituency, claimed that though his community has voted for the Congress in the last year's panchayat polls in Gujarat, Patidars were not given important role in the state.
"If Congress wants to win the upcoming assembly polls, it must give importance to Patidars. But, despite the fact that Congress won the last district and taluka panchayat polls due to the Patel votes, the state leadership tried hard to create a rift between the Patel leaders of the party instead of giving importance to them," he told reporters in Jamnagar.
"I had told the party leaders that Patel voters can ensure our victory this time. I urged the leaders to promote Patidars within the party. From the two important posts- the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly and state party president - one post must be given to a Patel leader," he said.
At present, two Kshatriya leaders — Shankersinh Vaghela and Bharatsinh Solanki — are holding these posts respectively. In the recent past, Vaghela had offered to step down as the LoP to make way for a Patidar leader.
Raghavjee Patel, a popular Patidar as well as farmer leader of Saurashtra region, is considered close to Vaghela.
Commenting on Patel's demand and the way he questioned the party leadership, state Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki on Sunday said the party has a democratic set-up, wherein people can express views freely.
He added that the party in-charge Ashok Gehlot has taken note of Patel's views.
"Congress party has a democratic set up, where everyone is free to express their views. We are like a family and it is natural that each member has different views. Gehlotjee has taken note of what Raghavjee has said and we will discuss this matter," said Solanki.
Updated Date: Jun 11, 2017 22:34 PM