PM Modi to virtually address Patidar Summit in Surat; ministers to attend

In a move aimed at reaching out to the influential Patidar community ahead of the upcoming Gujarat elections, PM Narendra Modi will virtually address the three-day global Patidar Business Summit starting on Friday in Surat.

Health minister and an important Patidar face of the BJP, Mansukh Mandaviya, will attend the event that is being organised in Surat, a city that has a significant number of members of the Patidar community and has been witnessing an increase in Aam Aadmi Party’s footprint.

Union minister Parshottam Rupala, Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel, Gujarat BJP President CR Patil are among the other leaders to be present at the event aimed at showing the BJP’s acceptance and popularity among the Patels who are known for both social and economic clout.

An official in know of the matter said nearly 10,000 patidar businessmen and 750 stalls, and nearly five lakh participants are expected to convene at the three day summit.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the Sardardham building in Ahmedabad, built at a cost of Rs 200 crore by the Vishwa Patidar Samaj. It is emerging as the one stop business, social and educational hub for the Patidar community, he added.

Following the summit, a comprehensive chintan shibir of health ministers from across the country will be held at the statue of Unity premises in Kevadiya in the first week of May, also drawing attention to prominence given to the State by the Centre. Gujarat is expected to go to polls end of the year.

At the Patidar global summit, Mandaviya will present the Patidar Udhyog Ratna award and there will be sessions held to discuss ways to boost MSMEs, the role of Patidar businessmen in nation building, skill development, women entrepreneurship, organic farming, innovations in marketing agri-products, way forward for family businesses among others, those in the know of the matter said.

The BJP’s patidar outreach comes when there is much uncertainty over the induction of Naresh Patel, president of Shree Khodaldham Trust that manages the temple of Maa Khodiyar, revered by the Leuva Patel community, in the Congress. Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee’s president, Hardik Patel has also been having a constant stand-off with Congress party accusing it of undermining the Patidar community. Naresh Patel has also been wooed by the Aam Aadmi Party that is looking at expanding its base with a shrinking Congress, and BJP. Naresh Patel however has said he doesn’t want to make any hasty move.

Jayant Dave, political researcher said that with the appointment of Bhupendra Patel, a first-time MLA as the CM and Mandaviya as union health minister, the BJP had made a critical move to assuage a community that takes representation very seriously. “The party seems to have learnt its mistakes after 2017. The BJP is also reaching out to the Patidars intelligently to not alienate the other communities.”

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