Former minister Gordhan Zadaphia, who was reinducted into the BJP in February this year after a patch-up with Chief Minister Narendra Modi, has been sent to Varanasi to mobilise Eastern UP’s Kurmi voters who identify themselves with Patels of Gujarat.
Zadaphia, who held more than 200 public meetings in Saurashtra region for mobilising Patel voters in favour of the BJP, will be reaching Varanasi on Tuesday. Though other Patel leaders, like Parsottam Rupala and R C Faldu, have also been sent to Varanasi, Zadaphia has been especially asked to go to Varanasi because of his connections with the local Kurmi leaders.
Zadaphia, who is the president of Akhil Bharatiya Sardar Patel Mahasabha, is also associated with the All UP Kurmi-Kshatriya Mahasabha.
During the period when he was running his Mahagujarat Janata Party (MJP), Zadaphia often travelled to UP and attended programmes organised by the Kurmi Mahasabha. This brought him closer to them.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Zadaphia said that he would confine himself to Varanasi till May 12 to ensure that Modi won by a record margin from the holy city. “There are two lakh Kurmi voters, mostly in villages, in the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat. I will work among them for the party till May 12 when the polling is scheduled in Varanasi,” said Zadaphia.
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Meanwhile, more than 200 AAP leaders and workers from Gujarat have gone to Varanasi to campaign for Arvind Kejriwal. Among them is AAP’s Ahmedabad East candidate Dinesh Vaghela.