BJP rebels on its side, MJP looks to make a mark
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With just a few months left before the state goes to polls, the MahaGujarat Janta Party (MJP) — with support of BJP rebels, including two former chief ministers — is leaving no stone unturned in projecting itself as the third front in Gujarat, which has traditionally been a two-party state.
In the run-up to the Assembly elections, the four-year-old party has been trying hard to woo voters from all walks of life, be it tribals, Patels, OBCs or farmers, through community and group functions.
While the party faces an uphill task of wooing voters, most of whom do not think beyond the BJP and the Congress, its fate also depends heavily on rebel BJP veterans.
MJP president and former Gujarat home minister Gordhan Zadaphia, who fell out with Chief Minister Narendra Modi over the latter's alleged autocratic style of functioning, believes there is a vacuum that his party can fill. "MJP is emerging as a party that can appeal to the poor, farmers and the urban class equally," said Zadaphia, who has so far held conventions for Patels, Rohit Samaj, tribals and OBCs.
In July, the MJP is to host a meet in Surendranagar to protest against "keeping farmers deprived" of Narmada waters to meet the demand of urban centers.
Modi's bete noire and powerful Patel community leader Keshubhai Patel, who is currently the centre of attention of all the parties given his clout among the politically influential Leuva Patels, may prove to be a game changer for the MJP president, who is also a Leuva.
For, the former CM has also been frequently seen with Congress leaders. Bapa, as Keshubhai is popularly known, recently launched a scathing attack on the Modi government at a public function where he was flanked by powerful Congress leaders from Saurashtra, including Porbandar MP Vithal Radadia.
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