After Nitin Patel, a Koli BJP minister wants better portfolio

BJP high command drafted senior minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama to assuage Solanki. Chudasama had played a crucial role in assuaging Nitin Patel

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter
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Nachiketa Desai

Embolden by the BJP leadership capitulating under pressure from Gujarat deputy chief minister Nitin Patel, yet another powerful caste leader from the Saurashtra region, Parshottam Solanki on Tuesday demanded that he be elevated to the cabinet rank from the minister of state status.

After Patidar leader Nitin Patel succeeded in securing the ‘prestigious’ finance portfolio, Parshottam Solanki, an influential leader of the Koli community demanded that he be given charge of more departments and made a cabinet minister as he had won the assembly seat for five successive terms.

If his demand was not met, Solanki warned, the BJP would have to suffer adverse consequences in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The Koli community wields considerable influence in the coastal districts of Gujarat accounting for 26 per cent of population in the peninsular Saurashtra region

“My community feels that since I am the only one in the government, I should be given a respectable position. While the chief minister keeps 12 portfolios, some first-time ministers have three to four good portfolios, I have only one and that too an insignificant one as the fisheries,” Solanki complained.

Thanks largely to his Koli community that Solanki was elected from the Bhavnagar rural constituency for the fifth time in a row. The Kolis have strong presence in over 4o assembly constuencies.

BJP high command drafted senior minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama to assuage Solanki. Chudasama had played a crucial role in assuaging Nitin Patel.

Flanked by Solanki, Chudasama told reporters, “He is not angry at all with the party. He is a senior leader and has only expressed his community’s sentiments to the chief minister. This does not mean there is a crisis in the party.”

On his part, Solanki said, “I have been given a single department of fisheries unlike the last four times when I was also given Animal Husbandry. Looking at the population of Kolis across the state, what do I do with one ministry. I obviously don’t feel like going to office.”

“The people of my community want the government to do something about it. I should be given other portfolios too. I had met chief minister Vijay Rupani today but as his chamber was crowded we could not talk on the issue freely,” he said.

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