A day after Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel said about how “Keshubhai (Patel) was isolated (by the BJP) for being a community leader”, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani met the 89-year-old former CM at his residence in Gandhinagar on Sunday, and sought his “blessings” before filing his nomination papers. Rupani will file his nomination on Monday from Rajkot (West) Assembly seat, from where he had won the 2014 bypoll after being appointed the chief minister.
Rupani met Keshubhai before leaving for Rajkot on Sunday afternoon. He said respected Keshubhai is the eldest member of our party. “He has spent his entire life dedicated to the party. So, I had come to seek his blessings before leaving for Rajkot to file my nomination form. I feel blessed,” Rupani told reporters outside Patel’s residence after meeting him.
He later tweeted, “Visited Shri Keshubhai Patel and took his blessings. Felt nostalgic while reminiscing BJP’s initial days in Gujarat with the octogenarian leader”. He also tweeted, “With wishes of karyakartas and blessings of elders, will file nomination papers for the forthcoming Gujarat Assembly election tomorrow (Monday) from Rajkot (West) — the constituency from where the people have made me what I am today.”
Hardik is expected to hold a public meeting the same day, when he will announce the political position of his Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) vis a vis the Congress. The Congress and PAAS concluded its talks late on Sunday evening.
In his address in Mansa of Gandhinagar district on Saturday, Hardik had praised Keshubhai, remarking about how “he was isolated for being a community leader”. Hardik had even met Keshubhai when his agitation was at peak and sought his blessings as well.
Keshubhai was replaced by Narendra Modi in 2001. He had later floated the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP), which unsuccessfully contested against the BJP in the 2012 Assembly elections. The party was later dissolved and the senior leader rejoined the BJP. Rajkot (West) is the same seat from where Modi had contested after being appointed as CM for the first time in 2001. The seat was then known as Rajkot-2. In September, during his visit to the state, Prime Minister Modi had met Patel to condole his son’s death.