Farmer links work for Gordhan Zadaphia, made BJP’s UP in-charge

Farmer links work for Gordhan Zadaphia, made BJP’s UP in-charge

Courtesy : Nationalist Bureau30/12/2018 09:15

New Delhi: The BJP has appointed former Gujarat home minister Gordhan Zadaphia as the party’s Lok Sabha election in charge for Uttar Pradesh.

This responsibility was shouldered by BJP chief Amit Shah during the 2014 general elections. Zadaphia’s announcement has come as a surprise to many in the BJP as he is a protégé of VHP’s former international president Pravin Togadia, a friend-turned-bete noire of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The BJP on Wednesday declared a list of in charges for 18 states, retaining leaders like Prakash Javadekar (Rajasthan), Bhupender Yadav (Bihar) and Anil Jain (Chhattisgarh) while shuffling others.

O. P. Mathur, the vice-president in charge of Uttar Pradesh, will now be Gujarat in charge.

Zadaphia, the Gujarat home minister during the 2002 post-Godhra riots, had refused to take oath in 2004 when Modi expanded his cabinet in Gujarat after the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government was voted out at the Centre.

He announced from the stage during the oath-taking ceremony that he would not like to be a part of the government.

Sources say he wanted the home portfolio again, but he was not given any portfolio after the 2002 assembly polls — but Modi wanted Shah to continue in the post. 

Life has come full circle for Gordhan Zadaphia, who had a role in mobilising the Patidars against the BJP in Gujarat in 2007, 2009 and 2012.

He has been working closely with the farming communities — the Kurmis and Jats in Uttar Pradesh, the Gurjars in Rajasthan, the Mohantys in Odisha and the Kappas and Kapus in Andhra Pradesh under an umbrella organisation the Akhil Bharatiya Sardar Patel Mahasabha.

His reputation among the Kurmis was put to good use by Modi in 2014 when Zadaphia was made to camp in Varanasi, the formers Lok Sabha constituency, and mobilise the community for him. He had also actively campaigned during the Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand Assembly polls.

Zadaphia was made in charge of Junagadh district and was involved in campaigning during the recent Jasdan byelection, which the BJP wrested from the Congress.

Although Zadaphia parted ways with the BJP in 2004, he never moved away from the saffron polity. He had mobilised the Patidar community members against the BJP under Sardar Patel Utkarsh Samiti ahead of 2007 Gujarat elections.

His MJP in 2009 Lok Sabha polls spoilt the show for the BJP in Gujarat and reduced the winning margin of former saffron party MP Rajendrasinh Rana (Bhavnagar) to just 5,902 votes.

MJP’s Patel candidate split the community’s vote at Patan, leading to a 20,000-vote victory for Congress’ Jagdish Thakore.

In 2012, when Keshubhai Patel resigned from the BJP and floated Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP), Zadaphia merged his party with it.

According to Zadaphia had also reached out to Nitish Kumar in Bihar and the JD(U) extended its support to the GPP during the 2012 elections.

Zadaphia returned to the BJP along with Keshubhai ahead of 2014 elections following a nudge from the Sangh.

He was also a close associate of ex-Gujarat CM Keshubhai Patel and former BJP general secretary (organisation) Sanjay Joshi, both of whom have fallen out with Modi.

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