BJP eyes Patel leaders of other parties ahead of polls

Party working on Assembly segment wise strategy

BJP eyes Patel leaders of other parties ahead of polls
The BJP is eyeing local Patel leaders of other parties to offset Patidars’ disenchantment ahead of Gujarat Assembly polls.

Among other leaders, the BJP is in talks with NCP’s Jayant Patel as it is working out Assembly segment wise electoral strategy in areas dominated by Patidars, who are apparently not happy with the party over reservation issue.

Jayant Patel had voted for the BJP during the Rajya Sabha polls for three seats of Gujarat though he had publicly claimed that he had exercised his franchise in favour of the
Congress’s Ahmed Patel.

Jayant alias Boskey, who is an MLA from Umreth in Anand, which is a Congress stronghold, is in talks with the BJP leaders, said a party source.There are other OBC leaders also the party is working on since it is leaving no chance for Patidars to weigh heavy on poll calculations, BJP sources pointed out.

Apart from Hardik Patel, who has declared that he would support the Congress to defeat the BJP in the December polls, two other young turks from different castes have also become a cause of concern for the party.

Alpesh Thakor is against Hardik’s demand for providing OBC quota to Patels, while Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani is trying to exploit the SC sentiment post mob lynching under the garb of cow vigilantism.

While Patels account for 14% and are widely spread in 52 seats of the Saurashtra region, Dalits form about 8% of the population.

Gujarat recently set up a commission for upper castes’ development to pacify Patidars but Hardik Patel had expressed his displeasure that his key demand for reservation for the community remained unfulfilled.

Besides this, the trading community is not very excited with the BJP post demonetisation and GST.

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