September 22, 2021

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Gujarat BJP heeds ‘ab ki baar, Patidar CM’ demand

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, Gujarat BJP heeds ‘ab ki baar, Patidar CM’ demand, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH
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, Gujarat BJP heeds ‘ab ki baar, Patidar CM’ demand, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH
, Gujarat BJP heeds ‘ab ki baar, Patidar CM’ demand, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

GANDHINAGAR: By choosing Bhupendra Patel, a Kadva Patidar, for the post of Gujarat chief minister, the BJP high command has once again acknowledged the importance of this politically influential community. Patidars make up for nearly 13% of voters in Gujarat.
With assembly elections 15 months away, Bhupendra has a colossal task to reverse the setbacks suffered by the BJP in the 2017 polls, when it lost some 13 seats to Congress in its own bastion of Saurashtra.
Later, the saffron party did recover some losses, but it was mainly due to some senior Congress leaders like Kunwarji Bavaliya and Jawahar Chavda, crossing the aisle to grab ministerial berths in the Rupani government.
The BJP regained significant electoral ground in the local body polls last year by winning all 31 district panchayats, nearly 180 of 260 taluka panchayats and all municipal corporations.
Bhupendra, the 59-year-old rookie politician, is said to be a moderate Patidar face. In contrast, outgoing deputy CM Nitin Patel who had bargained for the finance portfolio after two days of sulking in 2018, is considered inflexible over many issues.
Besides Patidars, Bhupendra is closely associated with Dada Bhagwan Foundation, a spiritual organization, which has a large number of followers in Gujarat. In fact, he is fondly called ‘Dada’ by his supporters.
The former AUDA chairman’s selection also points to BJP’s discomfiture after Aam Aadmi Party’s stellar show in Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) elections earlier this year. AAP workers have also started an aggressive groundwork in north Gujarat and Saurashtra.
Naresh Patel, president of Khodaldham Temple Trust, the influential Leuva Patel religious organization, had been vocal for a Patidar as a CM after Rupani’s departure.
In fact, interacting with reporters in June, he had been critical of the state government’s handling of the Covid-19 situation while praising AAP’s Delhi government. He could not be reached for comments despite repeated attempts.
Ramesh Tilala, trustee of Khodaldham Trust, told TOI: “It’s a matter of pride that Gujarat has got a Patidar CM. However, we are a religious and a social organization which considers all communities equal. We hoist the national flag at our temple and devotees from all castes come to seek blessings of Maa Khodal.”
Recently, Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya, a Leuva Patel strongman, had tried to assuage the community’s sentiments and described the relationship between Patidars and BJP like that of “an umbilical cord and navel”.
In Bhupendra’s elevation, the BJP has also sought to neutralize the potential impact of Hardik Patel, the feisty Patidar quota stir leader, who joined Congress and became its working president. The young Kadva Patel leader still has a significant following among the community youth and the BJP can ill afford to oversee the possibilities of him swaying votes in Congress’ favour in 2022.
T G Jhalawadia, vice-president, Sardardham, said, “Bhupendrabhai has worked a lot for Sardardham and Vishwa Umiya Foundation and has made immense contribution to the community’s welfare. But he is a man of all communities, who believes in doing good for all people of Gujarat. So, he must not be seen as the leader of a particular community. He is a man of integrity and absolute honesty.”

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