‘I won’t even mind being with Gordhan Zadaphia’
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Rajkot-based industrialist Naresh Patel, who by uniting politically influential Leuva Patel community through a religious movement of constructing their deity temple at Khodaldham in Rajkot district, has suddenly assumed centre stage in Gujarat politics. For, Khodaldham Trust, a brainchild of this 45-year-old brass parts factory owner, has provided much-needed firepower to former CM Keshubhai Patel in his battle against "injustice" meted out to Leuva politicians by his bete noire Narendra Modi.
The industrialist's recent closed-door meeting in Gandhinagar with Modi loyalists including Law Minister Dilip Sanghani and state BJP chief Ranchchoddas Faldu has left everyone guessing about his next move at a time when Keshubhai is out with all his might to spoil a dream run for Modi for the third consecutive election.
With over 1.5 crore Leuva Patels being crucial in swinging the results in over 40 of the total 182 Assembly seats in Gujarat, all eyes are now on Naresh Patel, who has so far shown considerable clout among Leuvas.
In his first media interview on recent political controversies, Naresh Patel, who has so far projected an apolitical image, clears the air.
Excerpts from the interview:
In the backdrop of your meeting with Leuva leaders from the BJP like Sanghani and Faldu, speculation is rife that it's an attempt to thwart Keshubhai Patel's anti-Modi campaign. Where do you stand?
I had a one-point agenda at Khodaldham, which is the development of Leuvas. I am with one who supports that.
Keshubhai has always talked of injustice meted out by the Modi government to your community. Do you believe the Modi government has supported Leuvas in the last 10 years ?
Things are quite open and clear for everyone to see. Is there any community today that is happy? In such case, we have no option but to unite.
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