With the Lok Sabha 2019 elections to be announced soon, political parties and leaders are doing everything to score points and woo voters. Once a BJP leader, Keshubhai is from the electorally significant Patel community which holds the key to government formations in Gujarat.The two leaders were sharing stage at an event in Adalaj, and Modi’s gesture came even as many leaders lined up to greet the Prime Minister.
A programme was organised by Levua Patel community in Adalaj, Ahmedabad where Modi touched the feet of former Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai Patel and hugged him onstage.
A video released by news agency ANI shows how Modi while accepting greetings from other leaders on the stage bowed down to touch Patel’s feet and later embraced him.
— ANI (@ANI) March 5, 2019
This is not the first time Narendra Modi has sought Keshubhai Patel’s blessings. He met Keshubhai when he resigned from the post of Gujarat CM and left for Delhi to take oath as Prime Minister of the country.
However, Narendra Modi and Keshubhai Patel have also been bitter political rivals. Modi became Chief Minister of Gujarat after Keshubhai resigned from the post after 2001 earthquakes in Gujarat.
Known as ‘Bapa’, Keshubhai was CM from March 1995 to October 1995 and from March 1998 to October 2001. He was a senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader in the state until he resigned from BJP in 2012.
In 2012, Keshubhai Patel even floated his own party under the banner Gujarat Parivartan Party. However, his party suffered big electoral defeat in 2012 assembly elections. Keshubhai soon merged his party with the BJP soon thereafter.
Another step by PM Modi to woo Patels?
A large section of Patels (Patidars) in Gujarat were annoyed with the BJP ever since the Patidar agitation began in 2015. Headed by Hardik Patel, the agitators demanded OBC quota for the community in education and jobs. The ruling BJP also faced backlash during the elections to local self government bodies and Assembly election of 2017.
While the BJP clearly ruled out giving quota to the Patels by citing a Supreme Court directive that reservation can not exceed 49 per cent, the BJP did come out with a 10 per cent reservation for the economically weak from all sections of society.
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