Kshatriya stir in Gujarat cost BJP seats in UP & Rajasthan

Rajkot BJP MP Rupala excluded from Modi cabinet after his remark during poll campaign
Kshatriya stir in Gujarat cost BJP seats in UP & Rajasthan

AHMEDABAD: This Lok Sabha election has been no less than a boomerang for Rajkot BJP MP Parshottam Rupala; his comment on the Kshatriya community ignited agitation in Gujarat midstream polls. Another effect was unpredictable: While the Gujarat BJP did not suffer losses, there were setbacks in neighbouring states for the party, sources said.

Post-polls, speculation intensified that Rupala was excluded from the Modi team-III owing to his gratuitous remark. Rupala comes from the powerful Patidar community. Sources said Porbandar party MP Mansukh Mandaviya – he too belongs to the Patidar community — has been repeated to prevent the community from turning against the party in Gujarat following Rupala’s exclusion.

The strength of Gujarat MPs in the Modi government has come down to six, one less than in Modi’s second term. A three-term Rajya Sabha member, Rupala served as a minister in Modi’s previous governments. From 2016 to 2021, he was the Union minister of state for agriculture, farmers’ welfare, and panchayati raj, and from July 2021, he rose to become the Union minister of fisheries, animal husbandry, and dairying.

Sources said the Kshatriya movement against Rupala also angered the community in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The result was that what seemed to be an easy victory for the party in the two states turned into defeat in many constituencies.

“Patidar votes are decisive in Gujarat, crucial as they are in more than 10 of the state’s 26 seats. Perhaps that’s why the BJP did not replace Rupala midway the election campaign. Some BJP leaders felt that Patidar votes would be lost if the BJP replaced Rupala, said a state BJP leader.

“Probably BJP did not expect this outpouring of Kshatryia angst outside the state. Rupala’s exclusion from the Modi cabinet is aimed at assuaging the hurt in the community and stem any further damage in the state,” he added.

Not only Rupala but Devu Singh Chauhan also has been dropped from Team Modi 3.0. Sources say he is likely to be given a more prominent position within the Gujarat BJP organization. Belonging to the OBC Kshatriya community, Chauhan’s appointment could address the community’s resentment against the Gujarat BJP. Sources suggest that if Devu Singh is made the state party chief, it could stabilize the party.

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