Linking the Nitish Kumar-led Grand Alliance’s stellar victory in the Bihar Assembly elections to the caste politics, Patels in Gujarat on Sunday termed the poll outcome as their community’s “revenge” against the BJP.
Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, which is fighting for inclusion of their community under the OBC quota, also said the BJP will face a similar “whitewash” in the upcoming local body polls in Gujarat.
Atul Patel, one of the PAAS conveners, said the Patels in Bihar, known as Kurmis, have given a befitting reply to the BJP in response to the treatment meted out to the Patel community in Gujarat by the State government.
“The BJP-led Gujarat government has been doing atrocities on our community here. Now, the Patel community in Bihar, known as Kurmis, has taken the revenge from the BJP by giving a huge mandate to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is also a Kurmi. Patels have given a befitting reply to the BJP through this mandate,” Mr. Atul Patel told reporters at a press conference.
The Patels had led an aggressive campaign for inclusion of their community under OBC quota in Gujarat under Hardik Patel who is currently in jail for sedition charge, and in his absence Mr. Atul Patel is spearheading the campaign for quota.
Mr. Atul Patel said the BJP will face similar defeat in the forthcoming local body polls in Gujarat, due later this month.
“Just like Bihar, Patels will show their strength in the upcoming elections here and uproot the BJP. We will vote against every BJP candidate, even if they are from our community. It is certain that the BJP will face complete whitewash in the elections,” he said.
Recalling the Patel quota stir, he said the community will not forget the “martyrdom” achieved by nine members from the community who died in violence that erupted after the mega rally on August 25, 2015.
“Out of her arrogance and ego, Anandiben Patel (Chief Minister) refused to accept our memorandum during the rally. That is why Patels are very angry with her. Now, to make sure that martyrdom of nine Patels does not go in vain, we have decided to reply through ballot in response to their bullets fired on us,” he said.
Mr. Atul Patel also took a dig at BJP president Amit Shah’s statement during Bihar poll campaigning where he had said that firecrackers will burst in Pakistan if the BJP loses.
“Today, PAAS members are bursting fire crackers across Gujarat to celebrate BJP’s defeat. Gujarat is the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel. This celebration here is a message to those BJP leaders who claimed that firecrackers will be burst in Pakistan if BJP loses in Bihar,” he said.
Though PAAS has not announced any direct support to the Congress in Gujarat, Mr. Atul Patel stated that his community does not have any option but to vote for the Congress.
“If not the BJP, then we have to vote for the Congress here as there is no other alternative available for our community. As of now, Congress leaders have extended their support to our cause. Thus, Patels will vote for Congress to defeat BJP here,” said Mr. Atul Patel.
While the municipal corporations of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar would go to polls on November 22, 2015, the voting for 31 district panchayats, 230 taluk panchayats and 56 municipalities will take place on November 29.