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How BJP Plans to Outsmart Hardik Patel, Who Joins Congress Today, in Jamnagar

Political analysts say that Hardik Patel’s plans to contest from Jamnagar is surprising but only time will tell whether he got his poll arithmetic right or wrong.

Vijaysinh Parmar | News18

Updated:March 12, 2019, 9:39 AM IST
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How BJP Plans to Outsmart Hardik Patel, Who Joins Congress Today, in Jamnagar
File photo of Hardik Patel.
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Ahmedabad: The BJP has come up with a plan to outwit Hardik Patel, face of Patidar quota agitation, who is all set to join the Congress on March 12 and contest the Lok Sabha polls from Jamnagar.

The BJP seems to have chalked out a major plan to corner Hardik Patel in Jamnagar where Satvara, Patels, Ahir, Muslims, Dalits and Kshatriya are important caste constituent in this seat.

On Sunday, announcing his electoral debut, Hardik Patlel had tweeted, “To give shape to my intentions to serve society & country, I have decided to join Indian National Congress on 12th March in presence of Shri Rahul Gandhi & other senior leaders.”

In Jamnagar, where Satvara, Patels, Ahirs, Muslims, Dalits and Kshatriyas are important caste constituents, the BJP is working on a plan to gain their support.

Out of the seven assembly seats which fall in Jamnagar Lok Sabha seat, the Congress had won four seats, while the BJP had won three seats in 2017 Gujarat state Assembly polls.

On Monday, Congress MLA from Jamnagar Rural Assembly constituency, Vallabh Dharviya, who belongs to numerically important Satvara community in Jamnagar district, resigned from the party and is likely to join the BJP. There are around 1.50 lakh Satvara members in the Jamnagar Lok Sabha constituency.

Working on its caste arithmetic, the BJP had, just two days ago, inducted Jamnagar MLA Dharmendrasinh Jadeja into Vijay Rupani’s government as minister of state. Jadeja is an influential Kshatriya leader from Jamnagar.

Giving a major boost to the party, cricket all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja’s wife Rivaba Jadeja has already joined the BJP on March 3.

The BJP could get Ahir strongman and Congress MLA Jawahar Chavda from Manavadar in Junagadh district and make him cabinet minister in the Vijay Rupani government. Jawahar Chavda’s entry into the BJP will strengthen its OBC outreach in Saurashtra, especially in Junagadh, Jamnagar and Porbandar Lok Sabha constituencies. In fact, BJP’s sitting MP from Jamnagar Poonamben Maadam is also an Ahir. BJP’s Poonamben Maadam had defeated her rival Congress candidate Vikram Madam in 2014 Lok Sabha polls with a margin of 175289 votes.

The Congress had won Jamnagar Parliament constituency in 2009 and 2004 general elections. Before that, BJP’s Chandresh Koradiya had won from this seat for the five consecutive terms from 1989 to 1999.

Political analysts say that Hardik Patel’s plans to contest from Jamnagar is surprising but only time will tell whether he got his poll arithmetic right or wrong.

Hardik Patel, who belongs to economically and politically powerful Kadva Patel community, came into light after his the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) had launched a massive protest in 2016 against the then Anandiben Patel’s government and demanded quota for his community in OBC category in education and jobs.

His protests against the BJP ruled state government had a major impact on Kadva Patel dominated constituencies across the state during 2017 Assembly polls.

The things changed after Narendra Modi government brought a law giving 10 percent reservation to economically weaker sections of the society which weakened Hardik’s quota stir.

Meanwhile, Kadva Patels, to which Hardik belongs, had recently invited Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad to lay a foundation stone for their deity’s temple in Ahmedabad, indicating Kadva Patels’ alignment with the BJP.

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| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi
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