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Dhanani named CLP leader, Solnaki to remain state Congress chief

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday appointed Amreli legislator Paresh Dhanani as the leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP), while Bharatsinh Solanki has been retained as the state party president.

Dhanani, 41, belonging to the influential Patidar community, will also be the Leader of the Opposition in the Gujarat assembly. A Leuva Patel, he won from the Amreli constituency for the third time and was elected by the party’s state unit on Saturday, while his name was announced by Gandhi.

Dhanani will replace 73-year-old tribal leader Mohansinh Rathwa. Rathwa won assembly election for the tenth time now, winning the Chotta Udepur constituency assembly seat.

Dhanani was also supported by the Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel for the post of Leader of Opposition.

Considered to be close to Gandhi, he proved his mettle by winning the Amreli assembly seat in Saurashtra, a farmer-dominated constituency where cotton is the main crop, unseating Congress turncoat Bavku Undhad of the BJP by a margin of more than 12,000 votes. Dhanani lost the elections in 2007 by a narrow margin only to reclaim it in 2012 and 2017.