- PM Modi launched multi speciality hospital in Rajkot, Gujarat
- BJP has been trying to woo the Patidar community in Gujarat
- Patidars make up to about 12 per cent of the total population of Gujarat.
PM Modi Gujarat Visit: Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a multi-speciality hospital by the Sardar Patel Seva Samaj in Atkot village in Gujarat’s Rajkot on Saturday in an attempt to woo the Patidar community ahead of the 2022 Assembly polls in his home state. Let us take a closer look at why the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is desperately trying to get the backing of the Patel community.
Who are the Patidars?
The Patel community often referred to as the Patidars, is an influential group in Gujarat. They claim to be descendants of Lord Ram and are concentrated in the northern region and Saurashtra, the peninsular part of the state. Patidars enjoyed political dominance across the state till the late 1970s and were vehement supporters of the Congress but shifted their support to the BJP in the 1980s. Apparently, the Partidar community’s support worked in favour of the BJP’s rule in the state for the last two decades. Currently, almost one-third of the BJP MLAs are Patels.
How do the Patidars influence the politics of Gujarat?
About 12 per cent of the total population of Gujarat are Patidars. In numbers, the Patidars may be less than the tribals, who make up 15 per cent of the state’s population, but they are the most socially, economically and politically powerful community in the state. 51 Patidar MLAs from Congress and BJP had won in the 182-member assembly, which is enough to tell their social and political power in the state in the 2017 assembly elections. Aam Aadmi Party is also emerging as the third option before the Patidars, and this is the main reason why all the parties are currently engaged in wooing the Patidars.
The presence of the Patidar community in the BJP
If we look at the political history of Gujarat for 61 years, 5 out of 17 chief ministers have been from the Patidar community. The current Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel also comes from the Patidar community. Chimanbhai Patel was the first Patidar Chief Minister of the state. Before him, all the chief ministers of Gujarat were either merchants or from the Brahmin community. After Chimanbhai, Babubhai Jashbhai Patel, Keshubhai Patel and then Anandiben Patel took over the throne of Gujarat. If seen, the role of Patidars in the politics of the state has strengthened from 1970 onwards and this is the reason why the BJP is putting a lot of emphasis on keeping this community with them.
PM Modi inaugurates hospital with 200 beds
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the multi-speciality hospital built by Sardar Patel Seva Samaj on Saturday morning. This 200-bed hospital is built on the Rajkot-Bhavnagar highway at a cost of Rs 40 crore. In Gujarat, the Patidar community has some influence in almost the entire province, but this community is very powerful in Rajkot and its surrounding districts. The BJP is busy nurturing this community for the upcoming elections and the PM’s visit to Gujarat is being linked to this.
How effective can the Modi factor prove to be
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is unquestionably the most popular leader in the country, and Gujarat is his home state. Narendra Modi’s popularity in Gujarat is still miles ahead of any local leader. This popularity of Narendra Modi transcends any caste or community, and this is the reason why BJP has been doing a clean sweep there twice in the Lok Sabha elections, despite performing relatively poorly in the assembly elections. In such a situation, Narendra Modi being in Gujarat, and inaugurating a hospital belonging to Patidars, will certainly send a big message to the community.
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