In the initial stages of the run up to the state assembly elections, the Congress had emerged as a strong competitor for the ruling BJP and even showed it could give chief minister, Narendra Modi a tough time, owing to the unity among its top leaders. However, this unity went for a toss with the declaration of candidates for the second phase of polls, and visible factions have emerged within the party.
The party high command turned down Narhari Amin’s request for contesting from the Gandhinagar South constituency. As a result, Amin’s supporters including the Ahmedabad City Congress president resigned from their posts in the party. Similarly, two sitting MLAs revolted against the party and filed nominations as independent candidates on Friday.
Morale had run high, then, among Congress leaders in Gujarat and Delhi as they got a whiff of power in the state.
However, the various protests against candidature announcements from all corners of the state left party leaders baffled and they felt the ground slipping from beneath their feet.
Following protests against the first list of 52 candidates for both phases of elections, Congress did not release the list of remaining candidates, and instead started instructing candidates
personally, issuing mandates secretively.
Major drama had unfolded at Narhari Amin’s residence on Thursday night as hundreds of supporters rushed to meet him after the Congress high command did not grant his request to contest from the Gandhingar South constituency. Amin’s supporters had poured in from not just the city, but also from Kalol and Kheda. They not only sympathised with him, but even showed willingness to resign from their posts in the party as well as the municipal corporation, district and taluka panchayats, university and other organisations as representatives of the party.
Congress candidates from Ghatlodia, Sabarmati, Ellisbridge, Naranpura and Thakkarnagar also showed solidarity with Amin. After the party brass did not pay any heed to the protest of the workers, Ahmedabad City Congress president, Pankaj Shah, 12 municipal corporators, 40 ward presidents, in-charges of 14 assembly constituencies and 100 other officials resigned from their posts.
“We submitted our resignations to the president of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) on Friday to protest against the injustice meted out to Narhari Amin,”
said Pankaj Shah, president Ahmedabad City Congress Committee.
Amin had earlier said that he was upset due to the party’s decision, but made it clear that he did not wish to contest elections at all. However, later, he also said that he along with his supporters would not work for the party.
It is also believed that the Congress leaders are meeting on Sunday to take a call on the future of Amin’s political career.
“Party leaders have promised to give Amin an important position within the organisation, so everything will fall in place by Sunday,” said sources in the Congress.