Gujarat: Patidars who stayed away from BJP in 2017 support ruling party in 2022 elections

Gujarat: Patidars who stayed away from BJP in 2017 support ruling party in 2022 elections
Ahmedabad, Dec 9 (PTI) The Patidar community, which voted against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2017 assembly polls in the backdrop of the quota agitation in Gujarat, is set to return with the ruling party in the 2022 polls and win most of the seats dominated by the community. helped to win.

The BJP has done exceptionally well in the state’s Patidar-dominated constituencies, winning almost every seat that has a sizeable Patel population.

Voting for the 182-member Gujarat Assembly was held on 1 and 5 December and the counting of votes took place on 8 December.

In the Saurashtra region, the Congress had won the Patidar-dominated seats of Morbi, Tankara, Dhoraji and Amreli in 2017. However, all these assembly constituencies went to the BJP this time.

In Patidar-dominated Surat, where the Aam Aadmi Party relied on the community to garner some seats, the community largely supported the ruling party. The party won the Patidar seats of Varachha Road, Katargam and Olpad with huge margins.

In north Gujarat, the Congress had won the Patidar-dominated Unjha seat five years ago, but lost it to the BJP this time.

BJP reached out to Patel community ahead of 2022 elections. In September 2021, the party appointed Bhupendra Patel in place of its Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.

The ruling party poached Patidar reservation movement leader Hardik Patel from the Congress and fielded him from the Viramgam assembly seat, from where he won with a huge margin.

The biggest move by the BJP at the state and central levels that pleased the community was the 10 per cent quota in jobs and education for the poor (economically weaker sections or EWS) among the “upper castes”.

The 2017 elections were fought in the shadow of the Hardik Patel-led quota agitation launched to secure OBC status for the community.

Despite setting an ambitious target of winning 150 out of 182 seats in the 2017 elections, the BJP got just 99 seats. The opposition Congress then won 77 seats, thanks to the Patidar quota movement and Hardik Patel’s campaign against the BJP.

According to community estimates, there are around 40 seats in Gujarat where Patidar voters play a decisive role. These seats are spread across rural and urban areas of the state.

Although the Patel community constitutes about 18 percent of Gujarat’s population, 44 Patidar MLAs were elected in 2017, which shows their influence on electoral politics in Gujarat.

Some seats in the Saurashtra region with a sizeable number of Patidar voters include Morbi, Tankara, Gondal, Dhoraji, Amreli, Savarkundla, Jetpur, Rajkot East, Rajkot West and Rajkot South.

While Vijapur, Visnagar, Mehsana and Unjha seats in northern Gujarat have a sizeable Patidar electorate, at least five seats in Ahmedabad city – Ghatlodia, Sabarmati, Maninagar, Nikol and Naroda – are also considered Patel-dominated areas.

In South Gujarat, several seats in Surat district are considered Patidar strongholds, including Varachha, Kamrej, Katargam and Surat North.

For the 2022 elections, the BJP had given tickets to 41 Patidars, one more than the Congress’ tally. The AAP had also given tickets to a large number of members from the community.

To keep the community happy, the saffron outfit had also announced that Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel would be retained after the elections.

Ahead of the elections, the Jamnagar-based Sidsar Umiyadham Trust, which represents the bitter Patidar sect, demanded that the BJP field at least 50 Patidar candidates.

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