Unease in BJP as MLA supports Patels' demand for OBC status

Unease in BJP as MLA supports Patels' demand for OBC status

The economically, socially and politically powerful Patel community in Gujarat is raising the pitch to win the Other Backward Caste (OBC) status, causing flutters in the state’s BJP government.

The Patels, who constitute 14 per cent of the state’s population, have been gathering large crowds in rallies across Gujarat demanding OBC status.

BJP MLA Nalin Kotadia, who represents Dhari constituency in Saurashtra, on Monday said he would not hesitate to resign from the party if the Patels fail to get OBC status, giving out indications that the ruling party is beginning to feel the heat over the issue.

Kotadia’s statement is putting pressure on 44 Patel MLAs to come out in the open with their backing for the OBC status to their community. The legislators have so far been tacit about their support for the issue. Curiously, Chief Minister Anandiben Patel is among the 44 MLAs.

Speaking at a function to felicitate a Patel student at his constituency, Kotadia said he has been a Patel leader for four decades and would stand by the community.  Asked to state his views on the agitation clearly, he said he is fighting for the Patidar community and would not hesitate to resign if necessary to support the cause.