BJP MLA from Akota in Vadodara Saurabh Patel, who was left out of the Vijay Rupani cabinet in August last year and thereafter from the party’s recently announced poll panels, has turned his attention to his constituency with micro-level activities.
The move —a micro-level cricket tournament and sangeet sandhya — comes amid much talk within the party around his candidature in the coming Assembly polls, but Patel says “it has nothing to do with the polls”.
“This is the first time, I have found time to organise such an event (cricket tournament) as I have been busy. It has got nothing to do with the elections as it is only a means to promote sports, and cricket is one of the most-loved games in India.”
Patel maintains that he is reaching out to the people of his constituency “as usual” even as an open factional war continues within the party.
According to the sources, many in BJP’s Vadodara unit have been displeased ever since Patel was fielded from Akota in 2012. Party sources say as many as three lobbies have made separate representations before the state executive to shift Patel out of his current constituency in the upcoming polls.
Stating that he is unaffected by the hostility, Patel says, “When there are a thousand people, it is not possible that all of them will be happy with you.”
Earlier this week, when Patel announced a micro-level cricket league in order to “bring together the people” of his constituency, elected representatives from Akota were conspicuous by their absence. Incidentally, party leaders see Patel’s cricket league as a breakaway in itself as BJP Yuva Morcha had also organised a cricket tournament in the city.
A party leader says, “This separate event only shows that he is just branding himself. It was not possible for him to be part of the event organised by the Yuva Morcha due to his differences with leaders. So he has gone solo.” Union Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala will inaugurate Patel’s event on April 27.
In a year when the Gujarat Assembly polls are due and much murmur surrounds his candidature from Akota, Patel takes the question up front.
He says, “In BJP, not a single MLA of the current 182 can say for sure if he is going to contest from his present seat or not. I am no different. It is for the party to decide and I will follow what it says. But the events that I am organising in my constituency need not be seen from the election point of view. I have always been around here.”