Ahmadabad: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi may find the going tough for the upcoming assembly elections as his predecessor and BJP warhorse, Keshubhai Patel is mobilising politically influential Patel community which can tilt the power balance in the state.
The 82-year-old Modi-baiter, who remained in political wilderness for over four years, has not only embarked on to attending public meetings and functions, mainly organised by
his community, but also been openly criticising Modi, while pitching for the change of current government.
From the beginning of this year, the BJP stalwart, who was unceremoniously removed from the Chief Minister's chair and replaced by Modi in 2001, has attended more than four major public gatherings and openly voiced his thoughts against the Chief Minister.
Patels who constitute about 18 percent of state population, shifted their loyalty to BJP in Gujarat after former Congress Chief Minister Madhavsinh Solanki worked out a KHAM (Kshatriyas, Harijans, Adivasi (tribals) and Muslims) formula to politically alienate the powerful community.
Patels were the backbone of BJP's successive victories in the state elections.
In the run-up to 2007 elections, Keshubhai Patel had initially taken a tough stand against Modi, however, he relented only after intervention and promises from party's top leadership, sources close to Patel said.
"However, those promises have not been kept either by the top leadership or by Modi so he (Patel) was lying low so far," they said. "However, this time he is determined to take the fight to its logical conclusion," they added.
Among other promises, Patel was purportedly assured of giving ticket to his son in 2007 assembly polls.


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