Vipul Chaudhary was in the news just before the Gujarat Assembly elections when he was arrested in connection with alleged Rs 800-crore financial irregularities at Dudhsagar Dairy. The former blue-eyed boy of the BJP was released after the elections.
Now, in his capacity as the head of Arbuda Sena –named after the Chaudhary community’s chief deity Arbuda Mataji – Vipul Chaudhary is set to launch Arbuda Dham to promote education and provide skill development opportunities to the youth. His team has appealed to the Gujarat government to provide land between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar to set up this ambitious institute that will teach over 21 courses.
Arbuda Sena’s general secretary, Jayesh Chaudhary, said that the idea is to teach skill development courses to make the youth employable and to encourage them to start something of their own. “These will be post-graduation courses. They will not be restricted to just the Chaudhary community, but will be open to all. Nominal fees will be charged. Those who contribute just Rs 1,000 for the Arbuda Dham foundation will get a lifetime membership of the institute,” he said.
“We have already presented a proposal to the Gujarat government and received a positive response. We are yet to get a confirmation on the land that will be provided,” Jayesh said.
Just before the elections, when speculations were rife that Vipul will throw his weight behind the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Arbuda Sena had managed to organise 85 public gatherings. At every gathering, the crowds swell to around 30,000 community members, who called themselves ‘sainiks’ of Arbuda Sena. The Chaudhary community is spread across 1,200 villages in Gujarat, of which 800 villages are already covered by Arbuda Sena.
Arbuda Sena has over 60,000 youths registered with it and it routinely holds training exercises for them. The last such youth programme was conducted in Ambaji where over 18,000 youngsters were trained.
Now with Arbuda Dham, the community aims to train students in studying and working abroad. Students will be trained for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exams. Along with this, preparation for competitive exams will be conducted. Arbuda Dham also wants a unanimously chosen leader, and not an elected one. “We do not want elections; we want a unanimous decision. Vipul Chaudhary will lead the organisation. The idea is to hit the ground before 2024,” Jayesh said.
Sharing his concept of Arbuda Dham with Vibes of India, Vipul Chaudhary said, “Everything we do, and want to do, is aimed at upliftment of our community and its youth. We are waiting for the government to give us a heads-up about the size of the land allotted to us. We are hopeful about this project.”
WHO IS VIPUL CHAUDHARY?
Born in 1966, Chaudhary was a student leader at Ahmedabad’s LD Engineering College – considered a learning ground for many Gujarat politicians – and was a staunch supporter for former Chief Minister Shankersinh ‘Bapu’ Vaghela. Under Vaghela’s guidance, Chaudhary joined the RSS in 1983 and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Paridhad (ABVP) in 1985. Ten years later, in 1995, he won his first major election when he was elected MLA from Mansa on a BJP ticket.
Chaudhary rose to become the rural development minister in the state but quit the BJP when Vaghela rebelled and formed his Rashtriya Janata Party. When Vaghela again became the chief minister with the Congress’ support in 1996, Chaudhary was rewarded for his loyalty. He was only 30 years old when he was appointed the minister of state for the Home. He remains the youngest Home Minister the state has had.