PM Modi Keeps Rupala Away In All Public Meetings

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PM Modi Keeps Rupala Away In All Public Meetings

| Updated: May 4, 2024 18:54

Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed six public meetings, covering 11 Lok Sabha constituencies in Gujarat, on May 1 and 2 and as always tried to explain to the electorate that voting for the BJP candidate would mean a vote to him, he ensured that he kept away controversial candidates from anywhere near him.

One common thing in all the meetings was PM Modi’s undulated praise for the Rajput community and in regions other than Saurashtra he sought votes from all, which would mean all sections of the society are included.

In Deesa, Banaskantha on May 1, Modi said this time people need to be united and vote. Thus, indirectly soliciting Kshatriya support. Later, in Himmatnagar, Sabarkantha, the PM spoke about the support of all and winning all the polling booths. He said one needs Mehsana and Sabarkantha to run the country.

Modi reiterated his appeal in Anand as well and said he has come to seek the blessings of the region. In Wadhwan, Surendranagar on May 2, it was the same appeal with an addition of a request to break all records. He also evoked Lord Rama in the Kshatriya territory and asked shouldn’t the work of building Ram Temple be taken on the second day after independence.

In Junagadh, Modi mentioned how the courageous laid down their lives during attacks on Somnath Temple. He also urged the electorate to break all previous records by voting for the BJP.

Modi’s masterstroke came in Jamnagar, last public meeting on May 2, where he said that it is owing to the efforts of Maharaja Digvijay Singh of Jamnagar that India has great relations with Poland. Mentioning about his close association with the Jam Saheb’s family for decades, Modi said he has been receiving special affection from Jam Saheb. The kings and emperors of the country had sacrificed their lives for generations to create a united India, he said. He also paid a visit to the Royal family before the meeting.

Moreover, one thing common in the meetings of Saurashtra is that he ensured that his senior colleague Parshottam Rupala, Union Fisheries Minister and Rajkot LS candidate, was not on stage with him. When asked about his absence of Rupala during the Wadhwan rally, BJP spokesperson Raju Druv was on record in the section of the media that he could not attend as there were restrictions due to his health.

Kshatriyas in Gujarat are protesting the BJP and have given a call to boycott the party. Rupala’s statement on the former rulers has not gone down with the community. At a function organized by the Valmiki community in his constituency on March 22, Rupala had said that while the Royals kept relations with the Britishers and wed their daughters to them, the oppressed (Valmiki) community did not bow down.

Kshatriyas have disrupted the BJP’s functions in different parts of the state. However, the saving grace for the party was that the coordination committee of the Kshatriyas had announced that they would not protest during Modi’s public meetings.

Out of the six public meetings, three were in Saurashtra region – Jamnagar, Junagadh and Surendranagar. Interestingly, the distance between Rajkot and Jamnagar is only about 93 kilometers and the distance between Rajkot and Vadhwan in Surendranagar and the distance between Rajkot and Junagadh is only a little over 100 kilometers.

A sample of a postcard written by Kshatriya women to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

While the BJP did not pay any heed to the demand of the Kshatriyas to replace Rupala as a candidate, keeping him away from the public meetings is an attempt to win over the Kshatriya community. By not changing Rupala as the candidate, the BJP has already pleased the Patidars. Rupala is a Kadva Patidar.

In Rajkot, the Patidar voters are 5.56 lakh and Kshatriyas 1.89 lakh. Though the Kshatriya leaders claim that their protests can impact on eight LS seats, the Kshatriyas are not much in numerical numbers as compared to the Patidar electorate.

Albeit it is for the first time after the reservation stir of the Patidars in 2015 that the BJP is facing overt opposition in Gujarat, considered and marketed as its model state.

Asserted Truptiba Raol, women’s wing president of the coordination committee of the Kshatriyas, the PM may try to pacify the Kshatriyas, but it is about the pride of Kshatriya women. In the past, he had told the women of Gujarat that they should write postcards to him in case they had trouble, and he would be there to help them.

“We have written lakhs of postcards to him. Nothing has happened. Perhaps the postal department is wrong or somehow the postcards have not reached him. Our only demand was to change Rupala as the candidate,” she said, adding that they respect the post of the PM, and it is one of the reasons that the Kshatriyas had given a call of not staging protests during his public meetings.

Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi held that it is Modi’s style of keeping away people who can damage him. Doshi told the Vibes of India that while Modi would attempt to woo the Kshtriyas, the fact remains that he has forgotten his previous promises. “In the past, Modi had promised there would be farm to fashion in Surendranagar, a cotton growing hub. However, the cotton prices have crashed,” he remarked.

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