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Naresh Patel not to join politics; focus only on Patidar community

Naresh Patel.

Naresh Patel. | Photo Credit: VIJAY SONEJI

Prominent Patidar community leader and social leader Naresh Patel on Thursday announced that he is not joining politics or any political party ahead of Assembly polls in the State. He ended the suspense over whether he would join any party as he was being wooed by all three parties: the BJP, the Congress and the AAP in the State. 

On Thursday, he told presspersons in Rajkot that he has postponed joining politics respecting the feelings of the community elders who advised him to focus on his community and social services instead of joining active politics in the State. 

Mr. Patel is a chairman of the Patidar community’s one of the most prominent social religious institute Shree Khodaldham Trust in Rajkot. He said that a new “political academy” will be set up at Khodaldham to train Patidar youth in politics and encourage them to join politics in the State. 

His announcement came as a rude shock to the opposition Congress as the party leaders expected Mr. Patel to join the party and play an important role in the State Assembly elections given his influence over the Patidar community in the Saurashtra region. 

In last six months, Mr. Patel held a series of meetings with the political leaders of all parties but mainly with the Congress party leaders as he was seen inching towards as Opposition party and become a key face in the State. 

Conducted Survey

“We conducted survey in which we found that the elders have opined that I should focus on social services while youngsters have suggested that I should join politics,” he said in a press conference in Rajkot.  He added that “for now, he is not joining any party.” 

“As many as 80% of youth want me to join politics. Likewise, 50% of women also favour the idea but elders of the community are completely against the idea,” he said. 

“There are still many projects that need to be completed. So will first complete those projects and then will take a call,” he said, explaining his decision. He added that he is focusing on creating a hospital, a skill development institute and a political academy. 

After his announcement, Gujarat BJP President C.R. Paatil welcomed his decision to focus on social and community services. “It’s his personal decision and I welcome it. He is a doing a lot of social services at the centre in Rajkot,” he said. 

The Congress party leaders also said that they respected Mr. Patel’s decision. However, the opposition party had apparently offered him a key role in the party in State politics in order to woo the Patidars, who form a solid vote bank of the ruling BJP. 

“We offered him to be one of the main faces of the party in Saurashtra region,” a senior party leader said, adding that Mr. Patel had met Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi and had discussed all aspects. 

Before the press conference, Mr. Patel, chairman of Shree Khodaldham Trust, chaired a joint meeting of the trustees, the Shree Sardar Patel Cultural Foundation and the Shree Leuva Patel Atithi Bhavan at Khodaldham, a temple complex built by the trust in Kagvad in Rajkot district, on Thursday morning. He is chairman of the trust, the foundation and the temple complex.

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 11:43:47 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/naresh-patel-not-to-join-politics-focus-only-on-patidar-community/article65533698.ece