The Patel prize: up for grabs, no clue so far
- IPL spot-fixing: Chennai Super Kings owner's kin under police scanner
- IPL 2013 LIVE SCORE: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Rajasthan Royals
- Jessica Lall murder: Actor Shayan Munshi, ballistic expert Manocha to face perjury trial
- BJP tears into UPA govt on 4th anniversary, says it lacks leadership
- BCCI was forced to encash Pune Warriors' bank guarantee: Sanjay Jagdale
The Patels or Patidars (landowners) are divided into Leuva and Kadva sub-castes, both rivals. The last caste census in Gujarat, held decades ago, showed Patels constituting 14 per cent of the population. Seen as a strong votebank, the Patels of Saurashtra-Kutch region and Charotar region in central Gujarat may be divided by priorities, but they seem as pragmatic
Dhansukh Patel, a farmer from Rajkot district, was present in both the shows of strength held by Leuva Patels this year under the aegis of Khodaldham Trust. And he does think of former chief minister Keshubhai Patel as a leader. But asked who he would vote for, he says, "Keshubhai was a farmer leader, but the Modi government has done a lot of development. Besides, Modi also means BJP."
Dhansukh somewhat captures the dilemma of the politically influential Leuva Patel community, whose tallest leader was Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India's first deputy prime minister and home minister and the only Congress leader whom CM Narendra Modi idolises. He was from chha gam (6 villages) in Nadiad.
While both the Congress and Modi's bete noire Keshubhai play up the issue of suicides by farmers — nearly 30 of them, mostly in Saurashtra, ended life due to crop failure — it does not seem to matter much for Patels, firstly because not many who died were Patels and secondly, rich Patels do not blame the Modi government for the near-drought situation that gripped Saurashtra this year.
"What can the government do if there is no rain," says Kishor Vekariya, a farmer from Lodhika village.
The community is happy with Narmada water being made available at least for drinking purposes and regular power supply to draw underground water for irrigation.
On its part, the Congress was quick to announce Rs 1 lakh compensation each to the families of the farmers who had committed suicide. The party knows that Leuva and Kadva Patels together can swing results in 20-odd of the total 58 seats in politically decisive Saurashtra region.
- Fixing probe now reaches Bollywood, son of Dara Singh held
- BCCI cashes Pune Warriors guarantee, 'disgusted' Sahara walks out of IPL
- Sreesanth spent Rs 1.95L on clothes, bought friend BlackBerry, paid in cash: Police
- Delhi firm with MoD as client is linked to Pak cyberattacks
- After Infosys, iGATE sacks Phaneesh Murthy for sexual misconduct
- 2 weeks after harassment, Haryana schoolgirls return, cops in tow