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After Keshubhai made a dent,BJP hopes son will strengthen base

Former BJP home minster Zadaphia was instrumental in bringing out Keshuhubhai from oblivion.

Written by Ahiral Dave | Gandhinagar |
December 25, 2013 3:29:11 am

Ahead of Lok Sabha polls,the BJP to an extent has been able to nullify Keshubhai’s GPP that emerged the strongest challenger to Narendra Modi by affecting results of at least 15 seats in the 2012 Assembly polls. The RSS veteran-turned-Modi’s-arch-rival Keshubhai may not return to the BJP,but by pulling his son Bharat back in its fold,the saffron party has put a question mark on the future of GPP.

Bharat Patel,who was campaign in charge for his father for Visavadar (one of the two seats that GPP won),is now likely to actively campaign for,if not fielded,by the BJP. And,83-year-old Keshubhai,who for the first time brought BJP to power in Gujarat in 1995,is not likely to run a counter campaign when his son Bharat for the first time — despite being associated with the BJP for 10 years until 2012 when he resigned to support his father’s GPP – is set to further his political career.

“Bharat’s presence will help the party strengthen its Leuva Patel base in Saurashtra,which was eroded in the last elections because of Keshubhai — the tallest Leuva leader — parting ways with the BJP to form the GPP,’’ said a party leader,adding that “the biggest complain of Leuva’s was that they were sidelined after Modi came to power by replacing Keshubhai. But Bharat’s inclusion and responsibility could change that.”

The insiders say that BJP might pitch Bharat from either Rajkot or Junagadh Lok Sabha seat. The BJP lost its stronghold of Rajkot in 2009 assembly elections by fielding a Kadva Patel candidate Kiran Bhalodia in this Leuva Patel dominated seat. And,Junagadh,it’s another stronghold,is this time in trouble with its MP Dinu Solanki,has been behind bars in connection with the RTI activist Amit Jethava murder case.

It was in Junagadh and adjacent Amreli,coupled with Rajkot districts,that GPP caused the damage on 15 seats in the last Assembly elections. As Modi is set to make a run for Delhi,his party is leaving no stone unturned to end any rebellion,in a bid to win all 26 LS seats. Bharat,however,at the time of including,though said that his return is unconditional. He maintained that his father supported his decision. “I have come with the blessings of my father,” Bharat said.

With this exit of Bharat and quite inactive Keshubhai (he did not attend GPP’s new year meet due to health reasons),the GPP now is almost reduced to leadership and cadre of Maha Janata Gujarat Party.

Ahead of 2012 Assembly polls,MJP founder Gordhan Zadaphai merged his four-year-old party with GPP to provide the new outfit much required organisational base. The MGP,however,so far has remained quite ineffective and Zadaphai too has lost all two elections – 2009 LS and 2012 Assembly – that he contested.

Former BJP home minster Zadaphia was instrumental in bringing out Keshuhubhai from oblivion,who for 10 years,since his unceremonious ouster in favour of Modi in 2001,had remained a reluctant rebel. Several other rebels,who had joined the GPP before 2012 Assembly elections,have returned to BJP.

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