The BJP’s enthronement of Hardik Patel is aimed at winning back the Patidar community, a major electoral bloc in Gujarat with a population of 1.5 crore and influence over around 70 seats in the Assembly.
Archive image of Hardik Patel. ANI
The Will-He-Won’t-He finally ended on Tuesday with Hardik Patel confirming that he would join the BJP on June 2.
Patel, who joined Congress in 2019, resigned from the party on May 18 in a scathing letter to party leader Sonia Gandhi, who blamed the party’s top leadership for “being distracted on her cellphone”. and focusing on “chicken sandwiches”. – which sent Twitter into a frenzy.
While Patel’s impending induction into the BJP is big news, it’s hardly surprising. Patel had in recent days effusively praised the BJP’s decision-making and operating style.
For the saffron party, the news of the Patidar leader joining could hardly have come at a better time – Gujarat will go to the polls later this year.
BJP’s high hopes for Hardik
BJP sources said The footprint it is hoped that Patel’s enthronement would help counter the influence of Naresh Patel – a Rajkot-based industrialist who is said to have enormous influence over the Patidar community of Gujarat – should he decide to join the Congress.
The BJP is also looking to woo the Patidars or Patels. With a population of 1.5 crore, they are said to sway about 70 seats in the Assembly and are a significant group in Gujarat.
Gujarat has also seen a multitude of CMs: Chimanbhai Patel, Keshubhai Patel, Babubhai Patel, Anandiben Patel and outgoing Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel.
“The BJP is a big bet (family) and everyone is welcome to serve the nation. Patel has shown his courage by leading protests for the rights of the Patidar community,” a leader said. The footprint.
The BJP leadership also sees Patel as a potential bulwark against the AAP, which has its sights set on Gujarat.
Patel also seems to have friends in high places.
India time reported that Hardik’s entry is being worked on “at the highest level of the party with active nudges from senior RSS brasses” and that Hardik is seen as a potential leader.
The report also noted that for the BJP, inducting Hardik makes perfect sense. Aiming to beat Madhavsinh Solanki’s record of 149 seats in 1985, the party prepared to make a major impact in Saurashtra and thwart the penetration of the AAP, albeit largely at the expense of Congress.
The Rise of Patel
Patel first came to prominence during the 2015 Patidar agitation, which demanded that the community be included in the OBC category.
Ahead of the 2017 Assembly polls, Patel drew huge crowds and had a strong following among young Patidar.
Although he did not make the political leap, his presence gave Congress a boost at the polls – the party managed its best record of 77 seats compared to the BJP’s 99 seats.
Observers gave Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mewani the best-than-expected performance in Congress.
Hardik was rewarded with his induction as the incumbent president of the Gujarat Congress, but was unable to come to terms with the rest of the party leadership.
Nor could he prevent the onslaught of the BJP propelled by Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha polls in 2019.
Another brick in the wall of Congress
For the Congress, which already faces an arduous task in Gujarat, this could not have come at a worse time.
The party is already facing outrage over its list of Rajya Sabha names, with several leaders saying the candidates did not reflect the perspective of the recently detained Chintan Shivir in Udaipur.
Several high-level leaders also left the party this year.
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With PTI entries