August 20, 2021 2:47:20 am
The Patidar community has become synonymous with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday at the launch of his Jan Ashirwad Yatra in Rajkot, claiming that the party has rewarded the community from time to time.
Reacting to the minister’s statement, president of the Khodaldham Trust, Naresh Patel, who is seen as a community benefactor, however, told mediapersons that it was “Mansukhbhai’s personal view”. Patel was among those present when Mandaviya was weighed in silver at the temple of Maa Khodal, the deity of the clan for Leuva Patidars, in Kagvad.
Mandaviya sought to woo the Patidar community, underlining that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had paid a befitting tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel by building the Statue of Unity and former chief minister Keshubhai Patel by conferring Padma Bhushan on him posthumously.
He also mentioned the Mandaviya says Patidar community has become ‘synonymous with BJP’ recent elevation of two Patidars — himself and Parsottam Rupala — as Cabinet rank ministers in the Union Council of Ministers in his every speech.
Mandaviya who landed at Rajkot airport in the morning, embarked on his three-day yatra amid much fanfare. After leading a roadshow through Rajkot city, he addressed gatherings of BJP workers, leaders of Patidar community and doctors at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Auditorium.
Addressing Samasta Patel Samaj Shubhechchha Bethak, a gathering of prominent members of Patidar community, Mandaviya, a Leuva Patidar, said, “Friends, there is an umbilical cord between Bharatiya Janata Party and Patidar community. Patidar means BJP… when we work out the math of votes… we count the Patidars as BJP. Then, when polling, voting, is on, or counting of votes is on and when ballot boxes are being opened from a Patidar area , if there is one community that gives the feeling to the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate that now we will surge ahead, it is the Patidar community… For years, you have supported the Bharatiya Janata Party.”
Addressing a Patidar gathering at Khodaldham, the place of worship of Leuva Patel community near Gondal in Rajkot, the Minister said, “Entire country draws inspiration from Sardar (Vallabhbhai Patel) saheb. But Narendra Modi is the man who built the tallest statue of Sardar Patel and made him world famous. I am also reminded of Keshubapa (Keshubhai Patel, former chief minister of Gujarat). He is no longer with us. But the one who conferred Padma Vibhushan on him posthumously is this county’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Narendra Modi is the man who has allotted five portfolios—health chemicals, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and fertilisers—to a Patidar youth.”
In the Cabinet expansion last month, Modi had elevated Mandaviya, a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, to Cabinet rank and allotted him portfolios of health, chemicals, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and fertilisers.
When asked by journalists to comment on Mandaviya’s statement of Patidars being synonymous with the BJP, Naresh Patel said, “That could be Mansukhbhai’s personal view. I have maintained since the beginning that Patidars are a large community. There can be divisions among them. A few people can be with the BJP but others can be with Congress and even AAP. Since Mansukhbhai is with the BJP, it can be his personal view. Therefore, from the precincts of Khodaldham, I can only state that people of every community can be divided along party lines.”
Another Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, Parsottam Rupala, who hails from Kadva Patel sub-caste group of the Patidar community was also elevated as a Cabinet rank minister and given portfolios of animal husbandry and dairy development. Mahendra Munjpara, Devusinh Chauhan and Darshana Jardosh — all elected to Lok Sabha from Gujarat and who belong to OBC communities, were also inducted as Ministers of State.
“Farming, dairy farming are our occupations. Narendra Modi has honoured this community by making Rupala Minister of Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development,” said Mandaviya.
Crediting Modi for encouraging research and development of Covid-19 vaccine, Mandaviya said, “India stands apart from the rest of the world in tackling Covid-19 pandemic. After a vaccine is developed, it takes minimum five years for it to be available in India. Now imagine if Covid-19 vaccine was to be made available in India after five years.”
On the first day of his yatra, Mandaviya covered Rajkot and Junagadh districts and addressed gatherings at nine places. Almost everywhere, he made it a point to underline that that Modi has made 27 MPs of OBC community, 14 of SC and ST communities, 11 women and 14 youth part of his cabinet.
Mandaviya said that Patidars are hardworking people who also believes in collective development and that this is the reason Patidars have served as MLAs, ministers and chief ministers. “I recall Anandiben (Patel). She had to choose between her community and her constitutional obligations. She chose to perform her Constitutional duties even if doing so meant losing power. This community has sense (of responsibility) also. This is the reason, other communities encourage and help, this community,” Mandaviya said.
Anandiben Patel had to step down as Gujarat CM in 2016 amid Patidar community’s stir demanding inclusion in OBC list and attendant benefits of reservation in government jobs and higher education.
Thanking the Union government for making two Patidars ministers, Naresh Patel said, “We can’t thank Central government enough as Mansukh Mandaviya is the first Patidar to become Union minister after Sardar saheb… Mandaviya has talked about what Patidar community has had to suffer politically…”
Mandaviya also addressed a press conference in Khodaldham. When asked if it was necessary for a Union Minister to mention how many people a particular community have been made ministers, Mandaviya said: “Is it a crime to talk about taking all caste, communities, creeds, classes along?”
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