Leauva Patel leader Naresh Patel received newly-appointed BJP president C R Paatil at Khodaldham, the shrine of Leauva Patel’s community deity goddess Khodiyar, near Jetpur town of Rajkot district on Thursday.
This was for the first time that Patel, a leading industrialist of Rajkot and president of Shree Khodaldham Trust (SKT), personally received any office-bearer of a political party at the Khodaldham since the temple complex was inaugurated in 2017. He had received Narendra Modi in January 2014 and Anandiben Patel in July, 2014 when they were chief ministers of Gujarat in that order.
Patel received Paatil at the steps of the temple at Kagvad village near Jetpur, around 60 km south of Rajkot, and guided him to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. He also presented a memento to Paatil inside the temple. Agriculture minister Ranchhod Faldu, food civil supplies and consumer affairs minister Jayesh Radadiya and office-bearers of SKT were also present.
Later on, Junagadh-Gir Somnath Parivar of Surat, a group of BJP supporters who are native of Junagadh and Gir Somnath districts but presently settled in Surat, weighed Paatil in silver and donated the metal equal to the BJP president’s weight to the temple.
The SKT president was not present when Rahul Gandhi, the then national vice-president of Congress, visited the temple in September, 2017 in the run up to the Gujarat Assembly election that year. “It is for the first time in recent years that the SKT president personally received president of a political party in the temple complex,” a functionary of the SKT, the religious trust which manages and maintains the Khodhaldham temple, said.
Patel could not be reached for a comment.