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Home » Gujarat » Rahul Gandhi’s meeting with Naresh Patel to decide outcome of Gujarat elections?

Rahul Gandhi’s meeting with Naresh Patel to decide outcome of Gujarat elections?

By Radha Mishra
Updated on :
Image: thedailychronicle

Gujarat is all set to go to polls in next few months, thus, political leaders are putting all effort to set their number game right. Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited his home constituency; Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi finished his three-day tour to the state on Wednesday.

Rahul met several of farmers, traders, businessmen and people from different walks of life.  However, what could actually help him change the state of his party in Gujarat is his meeting with the tallest non-political Lehuva Patel leader, Naresh Patel. Leuva Patels are the sole major community in Saurashtra, the region with around 58 Assembly seats and Patel can influence results in around 30 seats alone. The sub-caste of Patidar Community, LPs are strong in Saurashtra, central and North Gujarat.

So, after reaching out to the Patidars in Morbi district, Gandhi sought to strike a religious chord with politically and economically powerful community, on the last day of his visit. He visited Khodaldham, the shrine of Khodiyar, the patron deity of LPs.

Rahul was welcomed by Patel, chairman of Shree Khodaldham Trust (SKT), the religious organization of LPs. The Congress VP assured them that their community had suffered a lot and his party will help them if it comes to power.

Who is Naresh Patel and how can he influence Gujarat politics?

Naresh Patel, an industrialist, is a tallest, non-political leader of LPs. A powerful personality, he is influential enough to change the map of Gujarat politics with having the key vote bank – the populous and influential Leuva Patel community. LPs are conventionally the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) voters, but this meeting may change the scenario of state politics in polls due later this year.

Patel is a man, who personally wants to see a change in Gujarat. While most corporate preferences add up for a little in polls, the 52-year-old is said to be a convincing man. In past one decade, Patel’s influence has developed gradually with a stable accumulation of gifts to the community, including the building of educational institutions, clinics, sports facilities and even a temple.

Having said that, it’s not tough to make out why the political parties come to woo him once the election game starts.

His influence is so much that people from several parts of the state come to him with their problems.  Even if Patel won’t follow a party, he is well aware of what needs to be done for enhancement of his community.

A passionate sitar player and singer, he is also a local celebrity and has been ceremonially weighed by his community for countless times in blood (for donation drive), coins and silver.


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