Afraid of Protest, BJP Shifts Modi Rally from Patidar-Dominated Area

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the party headquarters to celebrate victory in UP and Uttrakhand Assembly elections, in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI Photo by Manvender Vashist(PTI3_12_2017_000185B)

Caravan Daily

AHMEDABAD — Just two days after Patidar youth icon Hardik Patel inked a pre-election alliance with Congress party, eventually bringing a tectonic shift in the much-touted ‘social engineering’ of BJP, the ruling party has moved the rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from a Patidar-dominated Assembly constituency in Surat district.

Interestingly, the venue in the Kamrej Assembly constituency in the textile town is the same place where BJP president Amit Shah was shown black flags by the supporters of Hardik’s Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) in September 2016. PM Modi was to address a public rally here on November 27 – the first day of his scheduled chain of rallies for the Gujarat Assembly elections. All preparations for the Kamrej rally had been made. Now the rally will be held in the Bardoli Assembly constituency.

While the Surat unit of BJP said that the venue has been changed as it had little space for parking of vehicles, a report in Aaj Tak said that BJP changed the venue as it did not want that Patidars create any ruckus in the PM’s rally as they did in Shah’s rally.

Gujarat is going to elect its new 182-member Assembly in two phases of the elections on December 9 and 14. BJP, which is in power in the state for about a quarter century, is said to be facing its toughest fight ever.

Patidars have long been protesting for reservation in education and government jobs. With this demand, Hardik Patel formed PAAS and has been crisscrossing the state to mobilize his community.

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