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Gujarat: Kshatriya agitation against BJP minister intensifies with biggest ever protest meet

The community leaders gave an ultimatum to the ruling BJP to remove Rupala by April 19, the last date of filing nomination, or else they will intensify the agitation.
Last Updated : 14 April 2024, 18:01 IST
Last Updated : 14 April 2024, 18:01 IST

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Ahmedabad: In a show of strength, the agitating Kshatriya community on Sunday held its biggest rally in Rajkot demanding removal of candidature of senior BJP leader Parshottam Rupala, also sitting union minister.

The community leaders gave an ultimatum to the ruling BJP to remove Rupala by April 19, the last date of filing nomination, or else they will intensify the agitation.

The community is against Rupala's candidature from Rajkot Lok Sabha seat following his remark on March 22, where he reportedly spoke about erstwhile rulers who broke bread with Britishers and married their daughters to them. The comment of Rupala, hailing from Kadva faction of Patidar community, has angered the Kshatriya communities and the echoes of agitation have gone beyond Gujarat.

The mega rally was organised by a coordination committee comprising various Rajput organisations in Ratanpur in Rajkot district on 13 acres of farmland. Local sources said that there were about two lakh people who attended it. They had come from across Gujarat and neighbouring states of Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

Rupala, who has apologised multiple times, is expected to file nomination on April 16. The escalating situation has further put the ruling BJP in a fix as the agitation is set to get intensified since Rajput leaders have refused any compromise other than removal of Rupala from contesting the polls. For the BJP, withdrawal of Rupala would mean angering the influential Patidar community.

It is believed that the situation has the potential of turning into decades old caste rivalry between these two rival communities in Saurashtra region.

Although they are numerically small compared to Patidars and wouldn't be able to change the election outcome, the Kshatriya agitation has brought back caste faultlines to the fore.

The nomination process for 26 seats in Gujarat has started. The last date for filing nominations is April 19 while Rupala is expected for file nomination on 16th. Congress has fielded Paresh Dhanani, former leader of opposition, who had in 2002 defeated Rupala. Dhanani belongs to the Leuva faction of Patidar community.

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Published 14 April 2024, 18:01 IST

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