As the Assembly polls inch closer,Koli Patels in south Gujarat are mobilising their community members to choose leaders who pay more attention to their issues and would work for them after being elected.
They have threatened to support independent candidates if the BJP and the Congress fail to field more Koli leaders in the December polls.
Koli leaders like Bipin Patel of Valsad and Chandrawadan Pithawala (Congress) and Karshan Patel (ex-BJP MLA) organised a meeting of the community members at Koli Samaj Wadi in Valsad on Sunday evening.
The leaders said that while political parties use them for votes,nothing is done for the community after polls. Though the Valsad constituency has more than 70,000 Koli voters,parties give tickets to leaders from other communities,said Patel.
Our community is lacking proper leadership. We should choose leaders who can work for our community and give better results. The leaders should be well educated,hold a good position in society and should belong to a respectable family, he added.
Pithawala said,We are used as voters by both the political parties (BJP and Congress),we are not given proper leaders. Koli voters can swing results in eight constituencies in south Gujarat,from Jambusar to Umargam. If our community leader gets elected,a lot of works four our betterment would be done. We have requested our community people to be united and vote only for community leaders. If our community is overlooked,then our leaders will contest as independent candidates.
He further said that meetings of Koli community would be held in all the districts in south Gujarat.
There are many issues,including lack of job opportunities for community youth… there are many villages in coastal areas that have been facing drinking water problems, Pithawala said.