Leuva Patels set for another show of strength, now a week before polls

Leuva Patels set for another show of strength

Surat meet comes as Khodaldham Trust movement failed to make much impact vis-a-vis ticket distribution.

The Khodaldham Trust movement to unite politically influential Leuva Patels on a religious platform to emerge as a force seems to have yielded little political gains as the community could not increase its ticket quota in BJP and Congress for the December polls.

Now, the community has organised a gathering on December 8 at Khodaldham Trust site in Surat during which trust chairman Naresh Patel will be weighed in silver.

While the event is ostensibly religious, its timing barely a week before polling day on December 13 could turn it into a show of strength. This assumes significance as both south Gujarat, where Surat is located, and Saurashtra will go to polls in the first phase.

Surat is home to a significant number of Leuva Patel diamond traders and workers from Saurashtra. The traders and workers together form a formidable force not only in pockets of Surat but can sway election results in districts like Amreli and Bhavnagar in Saurashtra.

"So far, 104 raqttula (weighing in blood) events have been held for Nareshbhai, and this will be the first chanditula for him," said Paresh Gajjera, in-charge of the event. Donations raised at the event will be used for the development of the trust.

For the 87 seats going to polls on December 13, 52 Leuva Patel candidates have been nominated in all from the BJP, the Congress and the GPP. Though this is the largest share of tickets among all the castes and communities, the figure is almost the same as that of past elections.

In fact, in Saurashtra, the epicentre of Khodaldham Trust movement, the number Leuva candidates has gone down, thanks to delimitation. In 2007, both the BJP and the Congress had fielded 14 candidates each in the region which sends 52 MLAs to the House. This time, both the parties have fielded 12 Leuvas considering the new caste equations post delimitation.

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