Gandhinagar, March 27 : The Congress on Tuesday announced the appointment of four-time party MLA Amit Chavda as the new President of its Gujarat unit in place of Bharatsinh Solanki.
Amit Chavda is presently a legislator from Anklav in Anand district of central Gujarat and an active Congress worker since 1992.
After a buzz over the submission of resignation by Solanki to All India Congress Committee President Rahul Gandhi last week, the former’s office had dubbed it as a ‘rumour’.
Chavda, 42, holds a diploma in chemical engineering and was first elected as a legislator in 2004 in a by-election from Borsad in central Gujarat. He has retained his Anklav seat since 2007 after the reconstitution of his constituency.
Chavda, like Solanki, hails from a family of Congressmen. His father Ishwarbhai Chavda was a five-time Member of Parliament of the Congress. Ishwarbhai is also the maternal grandfather of Solanki.
Chavda is said to enjoy a good rapport with the AICC President and was made a member of the 84th plenary of the Congress held in New Delhi.
His appointment is seen as a calculated move by the grand old party, which not only wants to strike a caste balance but also garner the crucial support of the youth ahead of the parliamentary polls in 2019.
The appointment of young leader Paresh Dhanani, a Patidar, as Leader of Opposition in the Assembly is also seen as a part of this move. With the appointment of an OBC as the Gujarat unit chief, the Congress appears to be reaching out to two of the biggest vote banks in the state.
Congress national spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil, former GPCC chief Arjun Modhvadia and Patel leader Siddharth Patel were also contenders for the party post.
“What could have turned the tide for Chavda is that the other three big names failed to retain their Assembly seats more than once, while Chavda has been a consistent winner. Moreover, he is soft-spoken and known for his go-getting attitude,” a senior Congress leader said.
On the other hand, detractors of the Congress said that since Chavda is related to Solanki, the latter could continue to influence party affairs in the state through the back door.