- Jaywant Pandya
It’s Narendra Modi politics again which surprised not only the media but BJP too. While everyone guessed that current Gujarat State BJP president Jitu Vaghani will continue working on his post till the bye-election, Gujarat journalists were surprised by getting BJP press release in just one line that C. R. Patil was appointed as Gujarat BJP State president.
It was shocking for conventional journalists because they still have not known Modi and Amit Shah’s way of playing politics. Bye-elections were necessitated by Congress MLAs resignation starting from March and then in June 2020 before Rajya Sabha election in which BJP successfully won three seats instead of two seats on its own capacity. Eight MLAs of Congress resigned and some of them joined BJP later. So, everyone was thinking that Jitubhai will continue till elections are over. But the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah-J P Nadda team took a risk in appointing C. R. Patil just before bye-elections which are still a couple of months away.
As soon as the news broke, Congress and some of its backed journalists started arguing Gujarat will not accept non Gujarati. Some sections tried to provoke the powerful Patidar and OBC community by telling that these communities will feel they got injustice. This is the same section of media which didn’t write such any comment when Hardik Patel was appointed Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee working president. However, the thing is that by this appointment a large section of Congress has got angered as many senior leaders feel they were ignored.
Congress has thus outsourced its working president post again. On national level, Sonia Gandhi and then Rahul Gandhi were appointed on high posts through parachute. It is ironic that in Gujarat, just months before the 2017 election, Rahul spoke of not allowing any parachute leader in the ‘Samvaad’ programme held on Sabarmati River front.
Hardik Patel got primary membership just a year back just months before Lok Sabha elections. He was allowed to be part of the Congress Working committee even before he was declared a Congress member.
Congressmen feel that ‘PAAS’ (Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti) leader Hardik and his team have hijacked Congress since 2017 when Hardik met Rahul Gandhi in darkness in hotel Taj Ummeed and returned from there with a reportedly bag full of money. Congress took support of all three ‘Jaativaadi’ agitators – Hardik, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mewani. While Alpesh is now in BJP, got defeated in by election, Jignesh is an independent MLA elected with support of Congress.
There is a sedition case going on against Hardik. He has failed to garner support and has not been able to win any contestants in 2017 assembly elections and 2019 Lok Sabha elections. There were many rifts in PAAS, an organisation constituted for demanding reservation for Patidar community under OBC quota. Many leaders have parted away with Hardik Patel.
Hardik’s old videos are being circulated on social media in which he announced in public gathering that “I won’t come to you to seek votes or notes and I don’t need your votes and notes. I have a habit of speaking truth and politics is a field of lies if he enters politics, because I won’t be successful in politics, anyone can abuse him.” Hardik Patel’s opponents accuse him of being responsible for 14 young patidar’s death by provoking them in violence against the government in the Patidar quota stir.
Hardik Patel’s alleged sex cds were out and it was alleged that he was enjoying pleasure on money collected during patidar stir. It was also alleged that Hardik had taken much share from this allegedly unaccounted money with him and purchased a bungalow and luxurious car.
A CCTV grab allegedly of Hardik patel leaving with bag of money after meeting Rahul Gandhi in 2017 was shared widely on social media
On the other hand, C. R. Patil is a well known mass leader. He has been elected as M.P. from Navsari with record break margin. In the 2019 elections he won with 6.89 lakh votes. He is the third time M.P. C. R. Patil is only M.P. whose office is I.S.O. 2009 certified. This certification is given to him for his excellent role in implementing government schemes for the public. Known for his hard work and result oriented approach, Patil is considered Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s task master. He is very much techno savvy and has used technology to push development works in his constituency and be in touch with the voters. Patil has also been Prime Minister Narendra Modi''s choice to coordinate development works in his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
Regarding being non Gujarati, it is very much untrue and anti national-anti constitution view. Every one who resides in Gujarati can be called Gujarati as far as he loves Gujarat and wants Gujarat more prosperous and peaceful. When C. R. Patil born in 1955, Gujarat was part of Bruhad Mumbai state so he is as much Gujarati as those who were born during that era. He speaks Gujarati very well. There are so many legends like author Kakasaheb Kalelkar who worked in both Gujarati and Marathi. If we trace back, many Gujaratis forefathers including Bhagawan Shree Krushna had come from north Bharat. Will anybody call Shri Krishna in Gujarati?
This debate of non Gujarati is originated by Congress whose leaders have worked against interest of Gujarat and have done injustice to Gujarat including creating hurdles in Sardar Sarovar Dam on Narmada river. Gujarat has never accepted regionalism. No regional party is successful here. History tells us that it was Gujarati king Jadav Rana who gave refuge to Parasis who came from Iran after Muslim invaders forced them their exodus.
Narendra Modi has given another example that he doesn’t believe in casteism. He had choose a Khatri Manohar Khattar in Haryana where Jat community is dominated, a brahman Devendra Fadnavis in Maratha dominated Maharashtra, a jain- which is now officially minority community-Vijay Rupani in Gujarat, a baniya Amit Shah as BJP National President. Modijee believes only in performance. Patil has all the capacities and virtues which is fit for becoming BJP State president. He is always very helpful to BJP workers. Thus a very popular figure. He has worked in Varanasi constituency and helped to get Modijee win from there. He is very good at fundraising too. Against him there were few allegations but those weren’t proved and were subsequently withdrawn. He is familiar with the media. He had started a Gujarati newspaper 'NavGujarat Times’. He knows media men very well and has earned respect from them.
But now the test will begin with elections. C. R. Patil has challenged the BJP organisation to take government schemes to people. There was a gap between government and organisation. BJP IT cell is almost inactive barring tweeting and forwarding posts of PM, Amit Shah and CM, Dy. CM. Due to admitting Cong leaders, few BJP leaders and workers are disappointed. C. R. Patil will have to motivate and fill enthusiasm in them. Main task is to win the 2022 Gujarat assembly election again. It is true that Congress is very weak and now broken. But one must not forget the Punjab case where voters voted for Congress government as they were totally against Akali-BJP Government.
A section of the media always have anti BJP government issues flaring up. So, youths are disoriented from BJP as they haven’t seen Congress rule. But given the fact that C. R. Patil has capacity to take workers along with him, he is techno savvy and has talked in interviews after taking charge as BJP state president that technology doesn’t mean to post photos on social media but use data generated through technology. It is true that some time there is dissent in state BJP, but when there comes issue of National/State interest or election, it fights as a great winning team.
(The author is a Journalist, columnist, author, TV political analyst based in Karnawati)