“They are so desperate that in the temples where we worship, the religious leader and the priests have been asking us to talk our families and relatives into voting for BJP.”
The Varachha road constituency which is the centre of Surat’s diamond trade has been slipping out of the BJP’s hands since the area saw massive violence and arson in 2015.
The 24-year-old Patidar quota stir leader asked people in Surat to not vote for the BJP, but for ‘a party that will be in a position to form a government’.
While BJP leaders are going all out to arrest the erosion of Patidar support in the state, they are unlikely to sway those members of the community who have resolved to desert the saffron party.
While urban voters are leaning towards the BJP, agricultural crisis and growing unemployment have alienated rural Patidars from the party.
Perhaps the BJP national managers know that the Modi spell is over. Shrewd operators that they are, they must be cognisant that shoddy goods have been sold to gullible Gujaratis for nearly two decades.
The BJP camp is nervous and a number of factors seem to be working against it – but will this be enough to tilt the balance?
Patel said that with the state elections around the corner, the BJP would offer the Patidar community many “lollipops” in their fight for reservation.
PAAS supporters in saffron caps barged into the venue where legislators of the Patel community were to be felicitated by Shah.
Hardik Patel was charged with sedition for allegedly asking his patidar followers to “kill two-five policemen”.