AHMEDABAD: Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki today said he would not contest the next month's polls even as he dismissed reports that he was not happy with the party high command over the selection of candidates.
His announcement assumes significance against the backdrop of the delay on the part of the Congress in releasing its first list of candidates for the assembly polls.
The deadline for filing nominations for the first phase of polls, slated for December 9, ends on November 21.
The ruling BJP has already declared names of 106 out of 182 seats by releasing two lists so far.
"I have declared it earlier and I am declaring it today as well that I will not fight Gujarat assembly elections," Solanki said.
On reports that he was not happy with the party top brass over the distribution of tickets, Solanki said it is not true.
"Some people started the campaign against me that I am not happy with the party high command and had left the Central Election Committee (CEC) meeting half way in Delhi (last week) to return to the state," he told reporters.
Stating that he is "not unhappy with the party high command", Solanki said he returned to Gujarat as he had some important work at hand regarding electioneering.
"The party has done so much for me. I have won two Lok Sabha polls and has handled three ministries with independent charge. I was elected as an MLA thrice," he said.
When asked if he has ruled himself out of the chief minister's race if Congress is voted to power, Solanki said it is the discretion of the party high command to decide the chief minister.
Asked why he went to his home in Borsad straightway from Delhi if he was not unhappy with the party, Solanki said he went there because he had not visited his home for the last three and half months.
The CEC meeting, chaired by party president Sonia Gandhi, was held in Delhi on November 17.
Solanki said he would help Congress win maximum seats in the polls as he is a loyal soldier of the party.
He said the first list of the Congress candidates is likely to be out tonight.
Even though only two days are left to file nominations for the first phase of the polls, the Congress is yet to announce its nominees as the party is trying to strike the delicate caste balance while doing the quota tightrope and grappling internal factionalism.
When asked if the Congress will give tickets to members of the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), he replied in affirmative.
"Though PAAS members have not asked for tickets, the Congress will give them tickets in the interest of the party," he said.
Regarding the Congress' seat-sharing agreement with the NCP and the Sharad Yadav faction of JD (U), Solanki said that talks are on and the outcome is awaited.