Modi factor up against Kshatriya community in Anand

Modi factor up against Kshatriya community in Anand

Modi factor up against Kshatriya community in Anand

The BJP has not tasted victory for decades in the Anand constituency in central Gujarat. With a dominant Kshatriya vote-bank, Anand has been a forte of  the Congress and its candidate Bharatsinh Solanki.

Solanki has been representing this constituency for the last two terms. This is one seat which the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and state chief minister Narendra Modi has been wanting to bag since 2004, but has been unsuccessful despite fielding strong candidates.

The only two times the BJP has been able to win this seat since independence was 1989 and a decade later in 1999.

History has it that Madhavsinh Solanki’s father-in-law Ishwar Chavda had prepared the constituency for him. Madhavsinh, founder of the KHAM (Kshatriya, Harijan, Adivasi and Muslim) theory for vote-bank, nurtured this constituency, and his son continued the tradition. 

Old-timers in the constituency say, “Prior to Madhavsinh, Ishwarbhai had also done work like instituting PTC colleges and a lot for the dairy sector,” said 85-year-old Natwarsinh Solanki. He said the Solankis have worked and nurtured the constituency and looked into the benefit of the people. The Congress here also has the advantage of having won six of the seven Assembly seats under the Lok Sabha constituency. So even as Bharatsinh fights an anti-incumbency factor, BJP candidate Dilip Patel hopes that the Modi wave will work in his favour. “I am a local and  I will continue to be here unlike Solanki, who comes once a year to wish the people and has not done anything that can be counted as an achievement,” he said. 

Patel, who is banking on the young and first-time voters, said they have seen the growth model of Gujarat under Modi’s leadership, and that is what they will finally want for the country. Anand has a total population of 14 lakh, of which the Kshatriya community number is pegged at 8 lakh.

While dynasty holds the key,  there are issues of failed cooperative banks which neither the Congress nor the BJP has been able to handle. So, even as Solanki continues to highlight the achievements of the UPA regime and his personal contribution to the constituency in the last 10 years, Solanki too is aware that this time it might not be a cakewalk, even though he continues to hold sway.

The BJP, on its part, is trying to hard-sell the Modi factor, hoping the equations will change in their favour.