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On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will fly to Atkot, a village in Jasdan taluka of Gujarat’s Rajkot district, to inaugurate the KD Parvadiya Multispecialty Hospital built by the Shree Patel Seva Samaj Trust (SPSST).
This will be the Prime Minister’s second visit to Jasdan in recent years. Modi hadaddressed an election rally in the takula during the last Gujarat Assembly elections in 2017. Significantly, this is a region where the BJP has faced a tough test.
The hospital that PM Modi will inaugurate
Built at the cost of Rs 50 crore by the SPSST, an Atkot-based charitable organisation, it is the first multispecialty hospital in Jasdan taluka. There are no multispecialty hospitals in the neighbouring Vinchhiya taluka of Rajkot or Babra taluka of Amreli either. In fact, there is no multispecialty hospital in a radius of 50 km, and people of Vinchhiya and Jasdan have had no option but to go to hospitals in Rajkot or Botad for specialty treatment.
The 200-bed hospital will start functioning out of a ground-plus-three-storey building with a carpet area of 1.5 lakh square feet.
The hospital will have 35 specialists and super-specialist doctors, 195 nursing staff, and will offer specialty and super-specialty treatment in gynaecology, surgery, orthopaedics, paediatrics, medicine, radiology, pathology, dentistry, nephrology, cardiology, neurosurgery, rheumatology, urology, gastroenterology and oncology, besides critical care.
The hospital has the approval of the state and central governments to treat patients at government cost under the Mukhyamantri Amrut and Ayushman Bharat health insurance schemes, respectively.
The SPSST says it will treat other patients at subsidised charges, or at the cost of the trust in case the patient is from a very poor background and needs treatment for disease not covered under Ayushman Bharat or Mukhyamantri Amrutam. The hospital has six operation theatres, a 64-bed ICU, a neonatal ICU and 10 ventilators. Then chief minister Vijay Rupani had laid the foundation stone of the hospital in September 2016.
Who is behind the project?
The SPSST was set up in the early 1996-97 by businessmen from Surat and Rajkot but who were native to Atkot village. The trust started out by taking over management of Vidya Vihar High School, a secondary school, from the Atkot village panchayat in 1998. The year the trust was founded, family of Sakarben Ranchood Patidar of Atkot donated an eight-bigha plot adjoining the Rajkot-Bhavnagar state highway in Atkot to the trust. It is on this land that the trust has now constructed the hospital.
Haresh Parvadiya, the youngest of eight sons of Kashiben Damjibhai Parvadiya or KD Parvadiya, is now the chief donor of the hospital. A business associate of Surat diamond baron Lavji Daliya alias Lavji Badshah, Parvadiya has so far donated Rs 7.51 crore to the hospital.
Meanwhile, Bharat Boghra, a former MLA from Jasdan Assembly constituency and incumbent vice-president of the Gujarat state unit of the BJP, is being projected as the swapnadrashta or the man who envisioned the hospital project. He joined the trust in 2016 and is currently its managing trustee.
Trust functionaries say the hospital was to be completed within three years, but faced setbacks first due to lack of donations due to demonetisation, introduction of the GST regime and finally the Covid-19 pandemic.
The SPSST is mainly an organisation of Patidars, but has inducted as trustees those businessmen from other communities who donated for the hospital project.
Boghra, who was an Ayurveda practitioner before he joined politics, says the SPSST has received Rs 80 crore in donations to build and run the hospital. Much of the money has come from Surat and Rajkot businessmen who have roots in Saurashtra.
Besides the SPSST functionaries, the people organising the hospital’s inauguration ceremony to be presided voer by PM Mod on Saturday include BJP leaders from Saurashtra, Laghu Udyog Bharati’s vice president Hanjraj Gajera and Rajkot Builders’ Association president Paresh Gajera.
Industrialists and businessmen from Surat and Rajkot have thrown their weight behind 44-year-old Boghra through the hospital project in Atkot. Boghra and the BJP have launched a massive outreach campaign, setting up around 30,000 hoardings on its inauguration.
Boghra, who runs cotton ginning and spinning factories and is the president of the Spinners Association of Gujarat, has been going from village to village to invite people for the hospital inauguration, which comes just six months before the Assembly elections in the state.
A Patidar, Boghra was once an associate of OBC leader and then Congressman Kunvarji Bavaliya. But in 2009, he defected to the BJP and defeated Bavaliya’s daughter Bhavna in a bypoll to Jasdan Assembly seat that year. That was the first time in history that the BJP won the Jasdan seat, which is overwhelmingly dominated by Kolis, an OBC community to which Bavaliya belongs.
However, Boghra lost the 2012 general election to Bhola Gohil of Congress and the 2017 election to Bavaliya. While hoardings of the event mostly don’t feature Kunvarji Bavaliya’s photos, the OBC leader has been accompanying Boghra to some villages in the outreach exercise and the two are doing their best to put up a united front publicly.
Congress dominance in Jasdan
Save the 2009 bypoll victory, the BJP had never managed to win the Jasdan seat since it was created in 1962.
Even as public opinion in Gujarat decisively shifted in favour of the BJP from the mid-1990s, Bavaliya, a high-school teacher from Vinchhiya, had by then created an identity of him being the leader of the Koli community in the region. He went on to win the Jasdan seat consecutively in 1995, 1998, 2002 and 2007 and was among the few Congress leaders to thwart the BJP in the 2002 election held in the aftermath of the 2002 post-Godhra riots. He shifted his election constituency to Botad in 2012 while being a sitting Congress MP from Rajkot, but lost.
Bavaliya returned to his borough in Jasdan in 2017 and reclaimed it by defeating Boghra. However, in 2018, Bavaliya quit Congress and resigned as Jasdan MLA before defecting to the BJP to become water supply minister in the cabinet of then chief minister Vijay Rupani. He won the consequent bypoll as a BJP candidate, handing to the saffron party its second victory from the seat.
When state politics began centering around caste identities, the BJP gave tickets to the upper-caste Soni community, the traditional jewellers, in 1980, 1985 and 1998, and to upper-caste Patidars in 1995 and 2002. It fielded a Koli for the first time in 2007, but Bavaliya prevailed.
The BJP fielded Boghra, a Patidar, for the first time in the 2009 bypoll and subsequently in the general elections in 2012 and 2017, but he managed to win only the 2009 bypoll. The saffron party gave a ticket to the Kolis for the second time in the form of Bavaliya in the 2018 bypoll, and won.
Overall, in the 10 elections it has contested, the BJP gave tickets to Patidars five times, Sonis thrice and Kolis twice.
In the 15 elections held to Jasdan Assembly seat till date, the Congress has won nine times, Independents thrice, the BJP twice and Swatantra Party once. Kolis have won the seat nine times, Kathi Darbars (OBC) and Patidars and Jains and Bavaji (OBC) one time each.
The one-time friends turned political foes after Boghra switched over to BJP in 2009. Boghra won the 2009 bypoll by defeating Bavaliya’s daughter Bhavna, but lost to Bohla Gohil, a Bavaliya supporter, in 2012 and to Bavaliya himself in 2017.
But in 2018, Bavaliya too crossed over to the BJP and was made a minister in the Vijay Rupani government. After Rupani resigned as chief minister in September last year, Bavaliya was among those who were not included in the new Cabinet of Rupani’s successor Bhupendra Patel.
Meanwhile, months preceding Bavaliya’s exit from the government, Boghra was made the vice-president of the Gujarat unit of the BJP.
After Bhaskar Thadeshwar (1980, 1985 and 1998), Boghra is the only other politician to be given a ticket by the BJP thrice, for the Jasdan seat. His streak of contesting elections from Jasdan ended only when the BJP had to send Bavaliya to the Assembly following his induction in Rupani’s council of ministers after he defected to the saffron party.
Bavaliya and Boghra, who have been in the same party for over three years now, continue to jostle for the same political space.
Incidentally, Haresh Parvadiya had come in contact with Boghra for the first time in the 2009 bypoll and has since become ‘friends’ with the politician.
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