In a major setback for him, powerful Koli Patel leader and former BJP minister Kunwarji Bavaliya was on Sunday suspended from the All India Koli Samaj at a meeting in Kamrej near Surat, with allegations that he has been acting against the interests of the community.
He was also charged with not attending key meetings of the national body and chose to remain present at his own personal whims and fancies.
All India Koli Samaj President Ajit Contractor alias Patel, who was made the national president last year of the association, moved a resolution to suspend Bawaliya from the community and this was unanimously adopted.
When contacted, the six-time MLA — five times from the Congress and then winning a byelection on a BJP ticket in 2018 from Jasdan constituency in Rajkot district, Kunwarji Bavaliya told Vibes of India that, “Ajit Patel had illegally become the president of the All India Koli Samaj and the entire current board itself is illegal. I have challenged this election process in the Gujarat High Court and it is pending for more than a year.”
“I am a senior leader of the community and continue to be so. Today’s meeting chaired by Ajit Contractor has no legal right to suspend me since the matter is still in the court,” Bavaliya said. President Ram Nath Kovind, being a senior national leader of the community, had ensured an acceptable compromise between various groups for this, he added.
After he quit the Congress, Bavaliya had joined the BJP and contested a by-election in 2018 to win again from Jasdan on a BJP ticket and was immediately made a Cabinet minister in the previous Vijay Rupani Government.
His quitting was a huge loss for the Congress party not only because BJP had never won from Jasdan but also since he is a senior Koli Patel leader. Bavaliya was vying for the post of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee but he was ignored in favour of Amit Chavda, who happens to be a cousin of former union minister and ex-GPCC chief Bharatsinh Solanki.
BJP poached him from the Congress for precisely these two reasons: the Jasdan seat and his stature as a Koli Patel leader.