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Trouble for Rupani as minister demands more to ‘serve’ people

Statesman News Service | Ahmedabad |

The teething trouble for the one-week-old Vijay Rupani ministry doesn’t seem to be over as another minister has raised objection about not being allotted adequate portfolios through which he could ‘serve’ the people.

Minister of state for fisheries, Parshottam Solanki, a five-time MLA from the coastal region, stayed away from the first meeting of the newly formed Cabinet in protest against portfolio allocation.

Parshottam Solanki, who was named as an arsonist by justice Srikrishna Commission that investigated into the Mumbai riots after the 1993 blasts and the demolition of the Babri Masjid, is an influential leader of the Koli community involved in fishing in coastal areas of the state.
Solanki’s defiance of the party’s decision just days after deputy chief minister Nitin Patel’s rebellion was contained with the intervention of BJP president Amit Shah, is certainly an ominous sign for the new Ministry in Gujarat.

Given that everyone is aware that the decision about portfolio allocation was taken by the BJP’s high command in Delhi, a junior minister like Solanki’s tantrum is a sure sign that the phobia about Modi-Shah duo is beginning to evaporate from the minds of party people here.
In a diplomatic move, Solanki told newspersons that he was himself not so angry but his community people were aggrieved at the allocation of a single portfolio to him this time.

Mr Solanki, who was involved in the Rs 400 crore fishing contract scam during his earlier tenure, went to the chief minister’s chamber to demand some more portfolios but could not do so as the room was crowded.

As a damage control exercise, senior minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama was deputed to sort out the issue with Solanki but the latter remained adamant on his demand.

He said that with the fisheries department allocated to him, he can serve only the fishing community in coastal areas and noone else. During his last four terms as minister, Parshottam Solanki was also given charge of Animal Husbandry department.