The bhai of Bhavnagar is in the eye of a storm yet again. But controversy is the second name of Parshottam Solanki, who is referred to as Bhai (the Hindi word for don) by his supporters in Gujarat. He belongs to Ghogha in Bhavnagar.
With the Gujarat governor paving the way for prosecution of the fisheries minister, it remains to be seen how Bhai, who holds sway among the electorally important Koli voters reacts to the development. The Kolis are one of the several powerful OBC communities in Gujarat and over the years have moved away from the Congress to the BJP under the influence of Bhai. He is the only Koli minister in the Cabinet and it is said that the council of ministers reluctance to grant permission to prosecute him stemmed from Modi’s fear that it would alienate the important Koli voters ahead of the assembly elections.
Incidentally, this isn’t Solanki’s first brush with the law. He was indicted by the Srikrishna Commission in connection with the 1993 Mumbai riots. He is also known as the ‘Don of Andheri’ and is believed to have real estate interests in both Mumbai and Gujarat. In 2004, he was given protection after he allegedly got threatening calls from Chhota Shakeel. He moves around with heavily armed body guards and dismisses the don tag. He calls himself a builder and developer. He got his three daughters married in mass-marriage ceremony in Mumbai apparently to set an example that marriages need not be all about ostentatious display of wealth.