News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay  » News » Why anti-Rupala stir by Rajputs won't dent BJP fortress

Why anti-Rupala stir by Rajputs won't dent BJP fortress

By Prashant Thakor
Last updated on: April 15, 2024 11:12 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

'For voters, PM Narendra Modi's name and developmental works in Rajkot are enough reasons to support the BJP'

IMAGE: BJP's nominee from Gujarat's Rajkot Lok Sabha seat Parshottam Rupala. Photograph: @PRupala/X

Even as Parshottam Rupala, the Bharatiya Janata Party's nominee from Gujarat's Rajkot Lok Sabha seat, is facing agitation by Kshatriya community members, political analysts and voters believe the Union minister will emerge victorious.

While the analysts claim Rajkot is an "unbreachable fortress" of the BJP, voters laud the development works done by the government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership.

Rupala recently claimed the erstwhile maharajas' succumbed to the persecution of foreign rulers, including the Britishers.

Despite Rupala's apology, the Kshatriyas, also called Rajputs, see his remarks as an insult to them and have asked the BJP to withdraw his candidature or face defeat in Rajkot, a Patidar-dominated seat considered as BJP's stronghold.

Elections to all the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat will be held on May 7.

The BJP has dropped two-time MP Mohan Kundariya and nominated Rupala, belonging to the Kadva sub-sect of Patidar community.

The Congress has fielded former MLA Paresh Dhanani, a Leuva Patidar.

Rupala and Dhanani belong to neighbouring Amreli district.


Three-term Rajya Sabha member Rupala is contesting the Lok Sabha election for the first time.

He was an MLA from Amreli in 1991, 1995 and 1998.

In the 2022 assembly polls, Dhanani defeated Rupala from Amreli. Dhanani also won the assembly seat in 2012 and 2017 but lost to BJP's Kaushik Vekaria in 2022.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Dhanani contested from Amreli but lost to BJP's Naran Kachhadia.

Rajkot Lok Sabha seat has nearly 23 lakh voters. The Patidars -- Kadva and Leuva -- are a decisive force with around 5.8 lakh electors.

There are also 3.5 lakh Koli voters, 2.3 lakh Maldharis (both OBCs), 1.5 lakh Rajputs, 1.8 lakh Dalits, around 2 lakh voters from minorities and 3 lakh from Brahmin and Lohana communities.

Talking to PTI, political analyst Jagdish Acharya claimed the maximum damage Rajputs can do to Rupala is reduce his winning lead by around 50,000 votes.

On the possibility of Dhanani's win with the help of nearly 4 lakh Leuva Patidars and a few thousand anti-BJP Rajput voters, Acharya said the chances are remote.

"It will not make much difference if a few thousand Rajput voters go with Congress. Moreover, all Patidars, be it Kadva or Leuva, are largely united and committed to the BJP. The Leuva Patidars would not opt for Congress just because its candidate is a Leuva and BJP's is Kadva," he opined.

For voters, PM Modi's name and developmental works here are enough reasons to support the BJP, he said.

Rajkot Lok Sabha seat comprises seven assembly segments, all currently held by the BJP.

The saffron party has been winning Rajkot Lok Sabha seat since 1989, barring 2009 when BJP's Kiran Patel lost to Congress' Kunvarji Bavaliya.

Koli leader and Jasdan MLA Bavaliya joined the BJP in 2018 and is currently a state cabinet minister.

"In 2019, BJP's Kundariya won from Rajkot by over 3.68 lakh votes and by 2.46 lakh votes in 2014. This seat is like an unbreachable fortress of the BJP," said Acharya.

"Even if the agitation against Rupala continues, Rajput voters don't have that power to make any difference to the end result. The BJP won with huge margins in the last two elections. A dent of 40,000 to 50,000 votes due to Rajput anger cannot stop the BJP from winning," he claimed.

The general view of voters across all castes is that Rupala should be forgiven as he has apologised, Acharya said.

"Koli voters are also in large numbers and have shifted to the BJP since some time. Jasdan is a Koli stronghold and Bavaliya can play a crucial role in getting these votes in BJP's kitty. The maximum damage Rajputs can do is to reduce Rupala's lead," Acharya said.

Unfazed by the controversy, the people of Rajkot seem to have already made up their mind.

Pragnesh Thakkar, a local senior citizen, said the Ram temple inauguration in Ayodhya and development of Rajkot city are the key issues on which many people like him will vote for the BJP.

The issue of water shortage in Rajkot is a thing of the past now, he said.

"Look at the number of flyovers and under-passes here today. What does the common man have to do with this controversy? People like me vote for the BJP, irrespective of the candidate. And, how can we forget the inauguration of Ram temple by PM Modi," said Thakkar.

Local resident Rakshit Patel also claimed voters are happy with the BJP and PM Modi.

"Thanks to PM Modi, Rajkot received a new international airport and AIIMS recently. With the Narmada water reaching the interior areas, farmers are also happy. Their land prices have gone up significantly," he said.

"Road connectivity has also improved. Development is now visible and it is the main reason why people press the 'lotus' (BJP's poll symbol) button on the EVM," said Patel.

Political analyst Jagdish Mehta said Rajkot is BJP's undisputed stronghold.

"Despite the agitation by Rajputs, it is impossible to defeat Rupala from Rajkot. Anger should also translate into votes against Rupala in large numbers, which is not possible because pro-BJP votes will eventually outnumber the anti-BJP votes," he claimed.

"The BJP has created a committed vote bank, which is its biggest strength here," he added.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
Prashant Thakor
Source: PTI© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
India Votes 2024

India Votes 2024