Mafatbhai: An Aam Aadmi and a common man
After a 13-year-renunciation, 76-year-old Mafatbhai Patel has not only returned to politics, but has brought the discourse back to his turbulent marriage to Gujarat's most powerful minister Anandi Patel.
As he is set to join Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) formally on Monday, Mafatbhai is also readying to fight the BJP and his wife, who is claimed to be successor to Chief Minister Narendra Modi if he becomes prime minister.
"She can well become CM (chief minister), but I am also on my way to become CM (common man) as I join AAP," says Mafatbhai, estranged husband of Gujarat Revenue Minister Anandi Patel.
He has minced no words earlier in going public about how Modi has ruined his personal life. The last was a letter that went public in 2010 to Modi, purportedly by Patel asking him to intervene and persuade his wife to foot his cancer treatment bill in the US.
Before that, he wrote to then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. "Politics created difference between us (him and Anandi). In the beginning, I had blamed Modi. I also wrote to Atalji. I openly spoke about it in public rallies. But now I have let go the bitterness. I will be happy if she becomes the CM. But, finally, I also feel like a common man (aam aadmi)," says Mafatbhai.
At various rallies held by Sardar Patel Khedut Utkarsh Samiti — an outfit formed by BJP rebels and the Congress in the run up to 2007 Gujarat Assembly elections — Patel used to say, "It is Modi who decides that what is cooking in my house." His wife has maintained a stoic silence over this.
Mafatbhai says that she has neither spoken to him or called on him after he announced his decision to join AAP. People in the BJP and close to Anandi say that she has chosen not to react.