Decoding the divided Hindus of Gujarat

#1 Dec 3rd, 2017, 11:36
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Shankarsinh Vaghela, the maverick of Gujarat politics, claims he was the first to wean away the Patel or Patidar community from the Congress in 1975. “I approached Dr AK Patel to contest on a Jana Sangh ticket. But he didn’t want to,” Vaghela told ET Magazine at his palatial farmhouse Vasant Vagado on the outskirts of Gandhinagar. “He said he would not get minority votes if he contested as a Jana Sangh candidate.”

Vaghela’s long-time associate Harshad Brahmbhatt remembers that first meeting where he was also present. Brahmbhatt says Patel was a respected doctor in Vijapur, Mehsana, and the Bharatiya Jana Sangh was keen to woo educated, popular figures into its fold. “He was willing to contest but not on a Jana Sangh ticket.

He was even ready to accept the symbol but not represent the party,” says Brahmbhatt, a jovial man fond of wearing heavy gold ornaments, at his home in suburban Ahmedabad. Eventually, after much goading, Patel contested as an independent with the Jana Sangh backing and won.


Shambhuprasad Tundiya-BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP and head priest of Savgun Dham near Ahmedabad. He is from the Nath sect, which Yogi Adityanath also belongs to. He is a Dalit but the temple is visited by all castes. A Muslim family of the village has the right to raise the temple pennant during the annual festival.

Economic Times

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