New Delhi, July 5: The NDA government's Cabinet rejig on Tuesday (July 5) saw the induction of three MPs from Gujarat as ministers of state and dropping of two existing ministers. The is being seen as one to woo the Patidar commuinity which has vented anger against the current Anandiben Patel government demaning reservation.
A year-and-half ahead of the prestigious electoral battle in Gujarat---Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state---the Patidar agitation has been perceived as a serious threat to the BJP's continuity in power and hence came the induction move. [PM Modi eyes UP polls through Cabinet rejig]
Rupala and Mandaviya were inducted to not just woo the Patidars but also keep a balance between the Anandiben Patel and Amit Shah camps
Two of the three MPs from Gujarat who have been inducted in the latest reshuffle---Parshottam Rupala and Mansukh Mandaviya---are Patidars belonging to the Saurastra region. The BJP has also ensured that both the Anandiben and Amit Shah camps are also satisfied besides the Patidars who form the core of the BJP's vote bank in the western state. [Modi's new-look Cabinet]
Rupala, who belongs to the Kadva faction of the Patidar community and was a former MLA from Amreli in Saurashtra, is known to be an Amit Shah loyalist while Mandaviya, a Leuva Patidar from Bhavnagar district of Saurashtra, is known to be a supporter of the Gujarat chief minister. The latter was also part of the BJP team that worked to tackle the Patidar quota sir which had rocked the state last year.
The Leuvas and Kadvas are two major rival factions of the Patidar community. In 2015, leader of the Patidar quota agitation Hardik Patel---a Kadva---was slammed by the Leuva Patels after he hailed only the deity of the Kadvas and not that of the Leuvas.
The issue had become a major one posing a major threat to the agitation. The induction of the two MPs, hence, try to bring in a balance between the two Patidar groups ahead of the state election as the Anandiben government has failed to contain it despite the presence of six patidar MLA ministers in it.
The third, Jaswantsinh Bhabhor, comes from tribal-dominated Dahod
The third inductee, Jaswantsinh Bhabhor, hails from the tribal-dominated Dahod constituency and seems to be the replacement of Mansukh Vasava, also a tribal minister and a former minister of state for tribal affairs. The BJP top brass is aware that Vasava's exit means there will have no representation from South Gujarat in the Union Cabinet and will speak to the party's organisation to address the issue.
The other Union minister from Gujarat who has been dropped is Mohanbhai Kundaria, who was the minister of state for agriculture.