By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani
Ahmedabad: After six Congress MLAs in Gujarat have somersaulted and joined the BJP, the political scenario is fast changing in the state as Ahmed Patel– Political Secretary of Congress President Sonia Gandhi – – faces a tough fight for Rajya Sabha seat.
The election for some Rajya Sabha seats will be held on 8th August.According to sources, more Congress MLAs, who are seen as staunch supporters of Shankersinh Vaghela, are likely to resign before the RS polls. It may include Vaghela’s MLA son Mahendrasinh and another close aide Raghavji Patel among others.
Ahmed Patel needs at least 46 votes out of the current total of 54 Congress MLAs. A defeat for Ahmed Patel will not just dent his party’s morale, but will also politically diminish the Congress and its flag bearer Gandhi Parivar further in Gujarat ahead of assembly polls this year, and also the 2019 national election. Despite the gravest challenge posed to him in his political career, it seems that he may cross this ordeal and win the RS seat as JD (U) MLA Vasava announced that he will vote for Patel. Another breather for him is that BJP MLA Kotadia may also vote for him.
Ahmed Patel was in dark about some ground bitter realities. He was getting feedback from GPCC leaders for quite some time now.
The Big Five of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee — Bharatsinh Solanki, Arjun Modhwadia, Shaktisinh Gohil Siddharth Patel and Shankersinh Vaguely – – who have played musical chairs amongst themselves for various positions, seemed to have kept Ahmedbhai Patel in good humour and mislead him all along.
Shankersinh Vaguely, an important part of this Panch Pandava group has now moved out after quitting the Congress and also as Leader of Opposition in the state assembly. “This group is primarily responsible for misleading Ahmedbhai. Their action is not intentional but they are completely cut off from the grassroots,except Shankersinh Vaghela and Shaktisinh Gohil, all others — Bharatsinh Solanki, Arjun Modhwadia and Siddharth Patel lost their last Assembly election. Ahmedbhai largely depends on them and goes by their political feedback. perhaps it was his mistake which put him in a fix now in this crucial RS seat battle,” said a keen Congress watcher.
Bawantsinh Rajput was the closest to Ahmed Patel, and today he has become a threat to the fabled “Congress Chanakya”. A close aide of Ahmed Patel, Balwantsinh Rajput was preferred as chief whip of the party over various senior leaders. It is said that Rajput was pitched as chief whip because in 2012 he had defeated sitting BJP minister Jaynarayan Vyas from Siddhpur. Rajput, the giant killer, was pitched for the post by Ahmed Patel and Patel prevailed over others.
Patel also helped Rajput become the biggest supplier of edible oils to the Indian Army and other government agencies. Party insiders say that during the UPA term, it was Patel who helped Rajput bag these orders.
In 2012, Rajput was one of the richest MLAs elected, with assets of Rs 269 crore and a liability of Rs 52 crore. Rajput is related to Shankersinh Vaghela. His son is married to Mahendrasinh Vaghela’s daughter. Mahendrasinh is the MLA from Bayad and Shankersinh’s son.
[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is a senior Journalist based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He regularly contributes to India’s First Online Muslim Newspaper “IndianMuslimObserver.com”. He can be reached at [email protected] or on his cell +91-9228746770]