Ahmedabad, Dec 18: In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hometown of Vadnagar, the lotus did not bloom in 2017. Vadnagar is a part of the Unjha constituency where Congress party’s Asha Patel defeated five-time MLA Narayanbhai Patel by a margin of over 19,000 votes.Also Read - BJP Would Remain at Centre of Indian Politics For Years to Come: Prashant Kishor's Latest Comments
The vote against the BJP was perhaps not unexpected – 40% of Unjha’s voters are Patidars and the Congress seems to have riden the anti-BJP sentiment in the Patel community. In 2012, Narayanbhai had defeated Asha Patel by about 25,000 votes. Also Read - Trade, Investment, Economy: Here’s What To Expect From PM Modi's Address At ASEAN-India Summit Today
Unjha had seen violent protests in the Patidar agitation in 2014 in which 1 person was killed. The Umiya Mata temple revered by Kadva Patidars, is situated in Unjha and the region was the epicentre of the Patidar reservation stir. Congress president Rahul Gandhi had visited Umiya Mata temple on the campaign trail. Also Read - 16 Houses Gutted, Over 150 People Rendered Homeless in Fire in Himachal’s Malana Village
It was some consolation that Deputy Chief Minister Nitinbhai Patel managed to retain Mehsana – the neighbouring constituency.
In Hardik Patel’s hometown of Viramgam in Central Gujarat, the Congress party’s Bharwad Lakhabhai Bhikhabhai won against the BJP’s Tejshriben Dilipkumar Patel by over 6500 votes. The Patidar Aandolan Samity (PAS) convenor today alleged the BJP had won these elections using unfair means and said the Electronic Voting Machines or EVMs had been tampered with. “Varachha Road and Kamrej have over one lakh Patidar voters each. They even turned up in huge numbers during my rallies in those areas. Despite that such results have come,” he said. Both the seats are considered Patel- strongholds in near Surat from where BJP candidates won.
In the 39 Patidar-majority seats in Gujarat, the BJP has won 24 and the Congress managed to get 15. The BJP had won 28 of these seats in 2012 and the Congress has won just 9. So while the party has managed to win the states, it has definitely seen erosion in its traditional vote base in the Patidar community.