MEHSANA/VADNAGAR: The Hardik Patel ‘frenzy’ which appears to have engulfed Mehsana, the epicentre of Patidar protests, seems to have generated much buzz among youngsters in Vadnagar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hometown, which is making BJP workers jittery.
Enter Vadnagar, hardly 25 km from Mehsana, and one gets the feel of an impressive township in the making.Well-laid roads, high-rise apartments, shopping complexes, well-designed houses and many buildings under construction — it is enough to convince anyone that ‘vikas’ arrived here long ago. After all, it is the prime minister’s village — the place where he was born and did his schooling.
“About 12 to 15 years ago, there were no roads here and not a single concrete house, leave alone buildings. It used to resemble any other backward village. Over the years, things have changed for good and it is all due to Narendrabhai’s efforts,” says Jitenbhai Patel, a local trader.
He, however, admits that though Vadnagar has been a BJP bastion, the influence of the Patidar agitation might be seen here as well when the town votes on December 14. “Like elsewhere in Gujarat, the Patidar community here has been discussing it. But I still feel Vadnagar will go with Narendrabhai,” says Patel.
“Vadnagar has seen lot of development, but there are no major industries here and youngsters migrate to other cities for work. Until Modiji was chief minister, he was focused and had plans for setting up industries and bringing in investment. But once he left to become prime minister, the pace of development has slackened,” says Mohnishbhai, another trader.
Manik, a youngster, says he can relate to what Hardik Patel says. “Many of my relatives are struggling to get jobs. If there is a quota for us, this problem will be solved. Narendrabhai does not talk of any such plan. You go anywhere in north Gujarat, the Patidar reservation issue has struck a chord with the youngsters,” he says.