New Delhi, Oct 29: With a rainbow coalition of various castes, Congress might hurt the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat, but the saffron party believes that such a move will backfire Congress. Speaking to news agency PTI, BJP leaders in the dry state have told that by bringing in OBCs and Patidars that account for more than half of state’s voters, Congress has invited contradictions as the two communities have competing interests and ambitions. Also Read - This Photo of a Snow-covered Mount Everest Behind Rahul Gandhi During Live Video Session Goes Viral
Recently, Patidar leader Hardik Patel agreed to join hands with the grand old party on conditions that Rahul Gandhi should first lay out the reservation issue and this is being seen as a sign of contradiction by the BJP. Reaching out to the OBC, the Congress had recently inducted Alpesh Thakor, who has rallied the community against the demand for including Patidars in the existing OBC quota. Also Read - Rahul Gandhi Releases White Paper on COVID, Says Aim is to Help Nation Prepare for Possible Third Wave
While the opposition party has also tried to win over Patel but Thakor has insisted that the OBC quota cannot be tinkered with. Also Read - Rahul Gandhi Turns 51: No Birthday Celebration Due To 2nd Wave, Congress Workers Urged to do Relief Work Instead
Saffron party has been ruling Gujarat since 1995 and since then it has relied heavily on its Hindutva and development agenda, maintaining a lead of close to 10 per cent over the Congress in vote share. Patidars have been the lynchpin of the BJP’s support and its leaders, who did not wish to be named, insisted that a majority of them will continue to back it despite a sense of unrest among a section of the community against the party.
They played down Patel’s electoral significance, noting that a leader of the stature of former chief minister Keshubhai Patel could notch up less than four per cent of votes when his Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) fought against the BJP in the 2012 elections.
The GPP had won only two seats and it later merged with the BJP.
Few political pundits believe that Hardik Patel’s anti-BJP campaign has struck a chord in the community as the quota issue has more resonance compared to Keshubhai’s fight that was restricted to opposing the then chief minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi.
Modi was and remains the most popular leader in the state and Keshubhai’s campaign against him had not paid him much dividends, said, political pundits. On the other hand, BJP leaders appear to be unfazed.
Adding further the political pundits said that for any party it will difficult to guarantee a separate quota to Patidars because of the constitutional bar on quota at 50 per cent.