A report published in Wire claims that almost a Lakh people gathered in the public meeting held by Hardik Patel near border of Mehsana which was the epicentre of the Patidar agitation in 2015.
However Hardik has been barred to enter the place but the Wire states a person saying “He cannot come to Mehsana but we can travel wherever he is.”
The Mehsana constituency is toug fighth for BJP to win this time as Patidars in the area are very upset with BJP, specially after the 2015 movement.
However BJP is trying every single move to save the constituency from Congress’s patel candidate Jivabhai Patel who was member of parliament in 2004. However, apart from the candidates from the two major parties, there are 32 other candidates contesting from the constituency.
About which a 65-year-old Patidar from Mehsana city constituency told The Wire,“These are all bogus candidates to divide the vote of Congress. Nitin Patel won’t win this time, so the BJP is desperate. The party had just two Lok Sabha seats in whole country in 1984 and one was Mehsana – we brought BJP to power. Modi stepped on our shoulders and became the chief minister and then prime minister. Our boys were the party’s youth cadre. The Patel’s not only voted for BJP and helped the party financially but also did its dirty work.”
“We used to pay Rs 200 per person to being people to Modi’s public meetings. You think the crowd at Modi’s rallies are all his supporters?” says Bharatbhai Patel of Sander village in Patan, who had come to attend Hardik’s rally.” he added.
According to The Wire, “The constituency has 2.57 lakh voters out of whom about 52,000 are Patidars, 40,000 Thakors, 26,000 Prajapati, and about 12,500 Muslims. Thakors and Muslims have been loyal vote banks of the Congress since the time Madhavsinh Solanki brought the vote bank together under the KHAM (Kshatriya, Harijan, Adivasi and Muslim) theory.”
Mehsana district has seven assembly seats. In the 2012 elections, BJP had won five seats while two seats went to the Congress.
But the anti incumbancy factor and the inclination of Patels towards Hardik Patel and Congress has created a tough challenge for BJP in not just saving the five seats but also in getting a single seat .