Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Congress MLA Kalu Dabhi resigns after ticket denial for poll in Gujarat
In a setback to the Congress in Gujarat ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, its MLA Kalu Dabhi resigned from the party's primary membership on Thursday after he was denied ticket for the parliamentary election.
However, state Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said Dabhi's resignation was not accepted and that efforts would be made to pacify him. Dabhi wanted to contest the Lok Sabha poll from Kheda constituency, where the Congress has fielded Bimal Shah, a former minister who quit the BJP to join the opposition party in January.
Unhappy over Shah's candidature, Dabhi resigned from the party on Thursday. He, however, but did not quit as an MLA from his Kapadvanj Assembly seat in Kheda district. In his resignation letter to state Congress president Amit Chavda, Dabhi said he and his supporters were hurt with the party's decision to field Shah from Kheda, instead of him.
Shah served as transport minister in 1998, when Keshubhai Patel was the state chief minister.
Talking to reporters after resigning, Dabhi blamed Congress heavyweight and former MP Dinsha Patel for denial of ticket to him. "Since I am already an MLA, I was not keen on contesting the Lok Sabha polls.
However, senior party leaders insisted that I should contest from Kheda seat, which has a sizable number of OBC voters. Party leaders told me that being an OBC leader, I can win this seat," Dabhi said. "But, Dinsha Patel, who played a key role in bringing Shah into the Congress, did not want an OBC candidate and threatened to quitthe party if I was given ticket.
Following the pressure, the party denied me the ticket and chose Shah, who belongs to the Jain community," he further said. Dabhi claimed that though he enjoyed a huge support in Kheda, he was denied ticket "at the behest of Patel".
Meanwhile, Doshi said efforts will be made to placate Dabhi. "We have not accepted his resignation. He is our senior and respected leader. He is a strong OBC leader from Thakor community. Party leaders will sit with him to sort out all the misunderstandings. We are sure he will withdraw his resignation after the meeting," said Doshi.
The BJP has renominated its sitting MP Devusinh Chauhan for the Kheda Lok Sabha seat. Polling in all 26 Lok Sabha seats of Gujarat will be held on April 23 and the results will be declared on May 23.