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The Prashant Kishor effect: Naresh Patel plays down impact, but Wednesday meet up in the air

Prashant Kishor was said to be batting for Naresh Patel, the influential chairman of the Shree Khodaldham Trust, urging the Congress to pick this Patidar. This was seen as one of the reasons for Hardik Patel's growing distance from the Congress.

Written by Gopal B Kateshiya | Rajkot |
Updated: April 27, 2022 10:57:43 am
Naresh Patel. (Express Photo by Chirag Chotaliya)

Soon after talks between the Congress and Prashant Kishor fell apart, with him declining an offer to join the party, the Patidar leader on whom all eyes have been trained in Gujarat said the development would have no bearing on where he decides to go.

Kishor was said to be batting for Naresh Patel, the influential chairman of the Shree Khodaldham Trust, urging the Congress to pick this Patidar. This was seen as one of the reasons for Hardik Patel’s growing distance from the Congress.

Asked about the Congress and Kishor falling out, Naresh Patel told The Indian Express: “It will have no bearing on my decision.”

The development in Delhi came on the eve of the annual meeting of the board of trustees of the Shree Khodaldham Trust, the religious trust of the Leuva Patel sub-caste group of the Patidars that Naresh Patel heads. The meeting was expected to discuss an ongoing internal field survey to ascertain people’s views on whether Naresh Patel should join politics, as per the Trust.

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Hasmukh Lunagariya, the spokesperson of the Trust, played down the Kishor development as well as Wednesday’s meeting. Kishor’s move was “a personal decision”, he said.

“There is nothing special on the agenda of tomorrow’s meeting. It’s a routine annual meeting, where the trustees review the progress of various activities,” Naresh Patel said. The field survey, he added, was still on. “But there will be something about that also at the meeting.”

Gujarat Confidential |Two Heavyweight Patels

On Sunday, Naresh Patel had told mediapersons that he had met Kishor on the sidelines of a wedding ceremony while in Delhi. He has earlier also said that he keeps in touch with Kishor.

On media reports that some Trustees had said that the feedback from the survey on him joining politics was negative, Naresh Patel said they don’t form the full picture.

“Khodaldham is all over Gujarat, and so, if somebody is saying 70% (of respondents) are saying ‘No’, then he doesn’t know about the youngsters, he doesn’t know about the women. He is talking about the elders. As you know, the elders worry about me. That is why they want to protect me, and therefore they say that it will be good if I don’t go (into active politics). They don’t say I must not go, but they do say it will be good if I don’t go,” he said.

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