Ahmedabad: Have Leuva Patels decided to vote for Keshubhai Patel’s Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) in the polls? Going by a message given to the community by its influential leader on Friday in Visavadar from where Keshubhai is contesting the elections, the answer would be a ‘yes’.
Keshubhai was invited as the chief guest at a mass marriage ceremony (samuh lagan) of the Leuva Patel community in Moti Monpari village of Visavadar. Naresh Patel, who is a trustee of the Khodaldham Trust and wields immense influence among Leuva Patels, was the other chief guest.
Naresh Patel bowed before Keshubhai when he arrived on the dais. The two of them then lit the traditional lamp. However, a few moments later, Keshubhai started leaving. This was after he spotted minister of state for Water Resources Kanu Bhalala on the dais. Bhalala is the BJP candidate from Visavadar and is contesting against Keshubhai. Those present were stunned to see Keshubhai walking away.
Keshubhai told the organisers that he couldn’t remain present on the dais when Bhalala was also present there. He complained that Bhalala was present on the dais when cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu had called him a ‘traitor’ but had done nothing to stop him. alala quietly leaving the venue. However, what followed can have a bearing on the outcome of the assembly elections next month. In his speech at the function, Naresh Patel indicated support for the president of the GPP.
“When Keshubhai was walking out, things here came to a pause. But, at times, things must come to a standstill,” Naresh Patel said. “Self confidence is lacking in the (Leuva Patel) community. When the time comes to take a decision, do it with a hand on your heart. At the age of 84, Bapa (Keshubhai) should not have to ask us to take care (of him),” he added. However, when contacted by DNA, Naresh Patel said: “I don’t have any specific comments to make on a political agenda. I said what I had to at the venue.”