Former chief minister Keshubhai Patel, one of the founding fathers of the Jan Sangh in Gujarat – the mother of the present BJP – resigned from the party alongwith another veteran, former Union minister Kashiram Rana indic
ating that saffron politics had come full circle in the state.
Patel, the patriarch of the party in the state made no secret of the fact that he was quitting the saffron setup that he had himself nurtured to power in 1995 against the alt145 corrupt and despotic misrulealt39of the present chief minister Narendra Modi and the utter alt145 spinelessnessalt39of the central party leadership in reigning him in. ‘I propose to unite all saffron and right wing forces who are suffocating under the present regime and with the help of the stifled common man work to eject it from power in the forthcoming state Assembly elections’, Patel made clear.
It is now a foregone conclusion that Patel will soon announce a new political entity with an avowedly saffron DNA to take on Modis BJP. This now makes it aptly clear that a triangular contest is in the offing in the ensuing Vidhan Sabha polls later this year. With Modi battling his own remnants and a rejuvenated Congress, the ruling party in Gujarat will be moving into the poll arena with a handicap. The resignation of the two veterans marks the exit of all the old- time alt145 heavyweightsalt39who had built the party with their blood and sweat. These included besides Patel and Rana, veteran leader Shankersinh Vaghela, former chief minister Suresh Mehta, former education minister Nalin Bhatt, late home minister Haren Pandya besides many others.
If Mehta was hounded out in 2007 just before the elections, it is Patels turn now, also months before the polls are due. Keshubhai is a respected name in Gujarat, both in politics as well as amongst his own Patel ( Patidar) community. He played no mean a role in weaning away the Patels who were once the backbone of the Congress towards the BJP after they got disillusioned when Congress chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki and late Jhinabhai Darji wove the famed KHAM caste combination to marginalise the community on the power chessboard in the eighties.
Patel who was the first chief minister in the history of Gujarat was unceremoniously replaced by Narendra Modi in 2001, but the old school politician though unhappy kept to himself. He was again goaded by his community to take up cudgels before the 2007 elections but hesitated and backed down from taking on the party. However, this time he has crossed the rubicon and is determined to give the BJP a taste of his old mettle.
Will announce a new political outfit on Sunday to challenge the Gujarat strongman in the December assembly elections