Call for Kunvarji Bavaliya as Gujarat CM reaches Prime Minister's desk, Bavaliya dismisses it as groundless

Kunwarji Bavaliya is a distinguished and seasoned leader within the Koli community, wielding significant influence over its electoral base.
Kunvarji Bavaliya
Kunvarji BavaliyaPhoto | Twitter

AHEMEDABAD: Amidst discussions surrounding the expansion of the Gujarat cabinet, there is now a clamour for the position of Chief Minister within the state. The Koli community of Gujarat, classified under the OBC category, has penned a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging the appointment of Kunvarji Bavaliya, presently a cabinet minister in the Gujarat government, as the Chief Minister.

The Koli community's letter asserts that they hold a substantial 32 per cent electoral influence in Gujarat. During the recent Lok Sabha elections, the Saurashtra Koli community, alongside the Thakor community of North Gujarat and the Koli Patel community of South Gujarat extended their support to the BJP. Given these factors, the Koli community leaders advocate for the appointment of a Chief Minister from their ranks.

Bhupatbhai Dabhi, former chairman of Gujarat Thakor and Koli Development Corporation and founder of Mandhata Group, articulated his stance in a media interaction. He stated "Following an extensive survey within the Koli community across 36 districts of Gujarat, I have forwarded a letter to the Prime Minister. Our findings indicate that Kunwarjibhai's leadership has bolstered the BJP's support among voters. Strengthening the BJP hinges on Kunwarjibhai assuming the role of Chief Minister."

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He emphasised, "My letter aims to fortify the BJP's position. With 265 Sarpanchs and a significant representation in district and taluka panchayats from the Koli community, Kunwarjibhai's sincere leadership is pivotal to the BJP's strength. There is no one as dedicated as Kunwarjibhai."

However, as the letter gained traction and became a topic of media discourse, Kunwarji Bavlia refuted its contents.

Upon arriving in Gandhinagar, when questioned by reporters about the letter, he responded, "There is no such request. This seems to have been initiated by supporters. The decision rests with the high command."

The Koli community's electoral influence is pivotal for all political factions in Gujarat. Within Saurashtra, the community is segmented into three primary sub-castes. The BJP has adeptly managed these factions during the past two Lok Sabha elections, leveraging their unity to secure victories, a strategy where Congress has faltered.

Among Gujarat's 182 assembly seats, approximately 35 to 40 constituencies hold significant sway from Koli community voters. The community's choice often determines the outcome of elections, shaping the political landscape in Gandhinagar.

Kunwarji Bavaliya is a distinguished and seasoned leader within the Koli community, wielding significant influence over its electoral base.

The Koli community constitutes a substantial portion of voters in Saurashtra. Formerly aligned with the Congress, Bavaliya defected to the BJP in July 2018. Presently, he serves as a cabinet minister in Bhupendra Patel's administration, overseeing crucial portfolios such as water resources, water supply, food, civil supplies and consumer protection.

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