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Race for Patidar votes begins in poll-bound Gujarat

Vibha Sharma

New Delhi, May 19

Gearing up for the Gujarat Assembly elections due this year, the BJP is leaving no stone unturned to keep by its side the politically critical Patidars of Saurashtra, a region that proved to be among the weakest links in 2017.

Meanwhile, a day after young Patidar leader Hardik Patel quit, top Congress leaders met another Patidar leader Naresh Patel, an influential social worker and chairman of Shree Khodaldham Trust.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the KD Parvadiya Hospital, the first multi-specialty hospital in Jasdan taluka in Rajkot district on May 28 where “top” Patidar leaders will be present. The hospital has been built by Patel Seva Samaj, a charitable trust headed by former MLA and BJP leader Bharat Boghra.

Gujarat BJP president CR Paatil said around three lakh persons would be present at the PM’s first visit to Saurashtra after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Though the buzz is that Hardik will be present at the PM’s event, the AAP too is wooing him and Naresh. Hardik, who met Naresh few days ago, has already ignited a buzz on forming a “third front”. So far, he says he has not decided on joining any party.

Calling the Congress the “casteist and anti-Gujarati party”, Hardik said he “wasted” three years of his life in the party, but maintained that he had not taken a decision yet on joining any other political outfit.

Addressing mediapersons, Patel hailed the BJP for its efforts in the Ayodhya case and also appreciated it for abrogating Article 370, while also accusing the leaders of the “visionless” Congress of being biased against the Gujarati people.

No decision yet on joining BJP or AAP: Hardik

A day after resigning from the Congress, Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Thursday said he “wasted” three years of his life in the party, but maintained that he had not taken a decision yet on joining any other political outfit, be it the ruling BJP in Gujarat or the new entrant AAP.

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