However, the state Congress’ attempt to energise its cadre in Surat ahead of the Gujarat assembly elections has sparked concerns about whether the reforms are sufficient.
Hasmukh Desai was chosen to lead its Surat branch, and the local Congress committee also welcomed four new working presidents. Four working presidents have been appointed in the city for the first time in the history of the Surat Congress and state party.
Bhupendra Solanki, Ashok Pinpale, Firoz Malik, and Deep Nayak are the new working presidents.
According to Raju Saluke, a top journalist from Surat, “this shows that the party is on the verge of collapse in the city and workers have lost trust and faith in its leadership.”
In Surat, the Congress party lacks a charismatic and assertive leader. Saluke asked, “Will they be able to repair the party’s image and build confidence among the voters and workers? The party had to nominate four working presidents just to accommodate four feuding groupings.
Surat, which had been a Congress stronghold, was taken over by BJP in 1990. Since then, the party has consistently performed poorly in every election, whether it be for the Lok Sabha, Assembly, or local elections. Both the state Assembly and the Surat Municipal Corporation have no representatives from this party.
The final MLA for the Congress party was elected in the Surat North, West, and Choryasi constituency in the elections of 1985, while the last MLA for the Surat East seat was elected in the elections of 2002. The city now has 12 seats following the delineation in 2009; eight additional seats were created, including Varachha Road, Karanj, Limbayat, Udhna, Majura, and Katargam. Previously rural seats like Olpad and Kamrej are now included in the city. Since 2012, the BJP has held all 12 seats.
Hasmukh Desai, the recently appointed city president, acknowledges that the Congress is “actually in a very weak condition in the city,” but with four active presidents, the party has attempted social engineering. Desai is a Patidar, Bhupendra Solanki is a Dalit and a native Surti, Deep Nayak is an Anavil Brahmin from South Gujarat who belongs to the upper caste, Ashok Pinpale is a Marathi from Khandesh in Maharashtra, and Firoz Malek represents the minority.
According to Desai, these castes and communities have a sizable electorate and control at least two to three Assembly seats. Building the party’s support base in this way will enable it to gain ground and win seats.
Working President Bhupendra Solanki stated, “I and the new team will start contacting old veterans and party employees who are inactive. The major issue for the party is that its leaders have lost contact with the workers as well as voters. This time, there won’t be any telephone conversations; instead, there will be in-person interactions. The only option is to strengthen the party, and we will do that.
The party will rebound and win Assembly seats this time, according to Solanki and Desai, who are certain that the new strategy will succeed.