Retaining the support of the Patels, who account for 14% of the state’s population, will be crucial for the BJP as the community is believed to control the results of about 50 of 182 Assembly seats in Gujarat and influence the outcome in another 30.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi invoked Sardar Patel as he travelled through Patidar-dominated areas of Saurashtra on Tuesday, seeking to court the Patel community, a section of which is up in arms against Gujarat’s BJP government.
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel told reporters that the government has instructed the state Home Department to look into ways of initiating a process to withdraw police cases lodged against Patel youth during the reservation agitation. Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) chief Hardik Patel also took part in the meeting along with six important Patidar organisations representing the Leuva and Kadva Patel community in State.
The PAAS leader Dinesh Bhambaniya, while welcoming setting up of panels, said that the decisions fell short of the expectations of Patel community that was hoping for a separate Commission for Patels.
The state government had on Tuesday invited the agitating conglomeration of Patidar outfits, including Mr Patel, for talks in Gandhinagar.
The Patidars have traditionally been loyal BJP supporters but turned bitter towards the party after an agitation demanding reservations and Other Backward Class status for the community ended with riots and a violent police crackdown in August 2015. He submitted that there is no evidence against him for framing of charges. “However, the nature of the jobs is yet not finalised”, added the source. “The Corporation will work to help citizens get benefits in the field of education, self-employment, farming, animal husbandry, purchase of vehicles, soft interest loans for higher education, foreign education”, Nitin Patel said. But the BJP government committed atrocities on you.
“We welcome setting up of a commission for upper castes’ development, but our demand, besides the key demand of reservations to the Patidars, was a commission for the Patidars”.
The importance of Gujarat polls can be gauged from the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not merely planning to visit the state every month before the polls, but also made a decision to invite Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Ahmedabad from where a bullet train to Mumbai is planned.