Narendra Ravat, who has found a spokesperson of sorts in Narendra Modi, has never used his Dalit identity to contest elections. “I come from the community but I do not use my background for political campaigns,” says the Congress’s Vadodara city president.
He did get a reserved seat for a civil engineering course at Vadodara’s MS University. He says the university refused him a general seat. “I never needed reservation in the first place. I went on to top the BE (civil) exams for both categories.”
Originally from Siddhpur in Patan district, he had moved to Vadodara in the 1980s and become a student leader. “I fought the local corporation elections in Vadodara in 2005 and 2010 (Sayajigunj and Nizampura) and lost, but never as a reserved seat candidate.”
In his affidavit for the primaries, Ravat did not mention his SC status. He won by 65 votes. After the BJP announced Modi as its candidate, Ravat was replaced with Madhusadan Mistry.
With Modi having claimed this is because Ravat is a Dalit, the latter said, “If Modi is so concerned about my political career then he should make me the CM of Gujarat.”