Keshubhai Patel – Last battle lost

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It was perhaps the last electoral battle for former Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai Patel. And he has been defeated emphatically by his confidante turned bête noire Narendra Modi.

Keshubhai first tried to play the ‘I’m victim of Modi’s politics’, then dabbled in tried-and-trusted caste politics game by seeking the support of his community – Leuva Patels, but he failed miserably.

Keshubhai had split with the BJP after his life-ling association and launched his Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) in the hope that he would consolidate the anti-Modi vote; but it seems like he miscalculated the power of Moditva.

Though the GPP was only a debutant in the 2012 Gujarat polls, with just two seats and 4% vote share, the grand old man of Gujarat politics will now have to walk towards the sunset, alone.

While Keshubhai won from the Visavadar constituency in Saurashtra, many of his key candidates lost. Jagrutiben Pandya, the wife of former BJP minister Haren Pandya, who contested from Eillisbridge constituency on a GPP ticket, failed to win the election. Another key GPP candidate Gordhanbhai Zadafia too lost from Gondal.

The future for Keshubhai looks bleak. At 84 years of age, the RSS veteran has probably fought his last election. With the BJP winning a near two-third majority and set to rule Gujarat for another five years, the options for Patel are next to none.

The only thing he can pursue now is to try and build support base for his Gujarat Parivartan Party. He may have lost badly this time around, but with Modi looking set to move to the national scene in 2014, there is a chance for him – and the Congress as well – to fill the gap and emerge a stronger political force in the state.

But the pertinent question here is whether Keshubhai could have avoided the ignominy of having to bow out of the ring defeated?

Clearly there lies a message – it is best to bow out with honour than be pushed out with disgrace. Hope other ‘grand old men’ of Indian politics are listening.

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Who is Keshubhai Patel ?

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Former chief minister of Gujarat Keshubhai Patel, an octogenarian veteran politician, is the founder of Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) and is better known as bête noire of Narendra Modi.

Keshubhai Patel, 84, belongs to the Patel community deemed to be significant for playing an important role in Gujarat elections.

He served as Gujarat CM from March 1995 to October 1995 and from March 1998 to October 2001. Patel had been one of the prominent faces of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Gujarat until 2001, when his party was defeated in two key by-elections. This paved the way for unseating of Patel from Gujarat CM’s post and arrival of Narendra Modi as the new man at the helm of affairs in Gujarat.

Dejected after losing CM’s chair, Keshubhai Patel’s troubles mounted in the 2007 Gujarat Assembly Elections when Narendra Modi emerged victorious in Patel’s stronghold of Saurashtra. In spite of the fact that Patel had campaigned vigorously urging people to vote for a change, people had preferred the BJP and voted for Modi. Also, Patel had been served showcause notice by his own party for anti-party activities to which he hasn’t replied yet.

Keshubhai Patel left BJP on 4th August 2012 and floated his own outfit, named Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP). He has already announced the first list of 63 candidates for the first phase of Gujarat Assembly Elections 2012.

Hell-bent on defeating Modi in the upcoming Assembly Elections in December, Keshubhai has filed his nomination papers from Visavadar constituency in Rajkot district.

Keshubhai boards helicopter for campaign

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During the Saurashtra phase of campaign, Keshubhai said in public meetings and in interviews that he was people’s man and, was not using helicopter while in campaign. He even criticized Modi on the issue of ‘helicopter campaign’. But as soon as voting in Saurashtra and Surat completed, Keshubhai has started using helicopter. So far, a helicopter arranged for Keshubhai was used by Gordhan Zadafia. Now it seems Keshubhai is going to use it.

Here is the schedule of campaign of Keshubhai and Gordhanbhai received from Gujarat Parivartan Party(GPP).

GUJARAT PARIVARTAN PARTY

Schedule of Shree Keshubhai Patel Dt. 14/12/2012

10.00 am. Helicopter Landing ( Fatehpura)

10.15 am . Sabha (At. Fatehpura )

11.15 am. Dept. Fatehpura to Santrampur By Car

11.45 am. Sabha ( At. Santrampur )

12.20 am. Dept. From Santrampur to

Tejgadh ( Chhota Udepur) By Helicopter

1.00 pm. Tejgadh ( Chhota Udepur)

1.10 pm. Sabha At. Tejgadh ( Chhota Udepur)

2.15 pm. Dept. from Tejgadh to Kalol

2.40 pm. Ariv. At. Kalol

2.50 pm. Sabha At. Kalol

3.40 pm. Dept. From- Kalol to

6.30 pm. Naroda Sabha (Naroda gham)

8.30 pm. Chandlodia ( Sabarmati ) Sabha

Schedule of Shree Gordhanbhai Zadafia Dt. 14/12/2012

4:00 pm. Kalol

5:00 pm. Gandhinagar South

7:00 pm. Vejalpur

8:00 pm. Thakkarbapa Nagar

9:00 pm. Sanjay Chowk – Amraiwadi

9:30 pm. Bapa Sitaram Chowk – Daskroi

Keshubhai gets EC notice for violating election code

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Election Commission Thursday slapped a notice on former Chief Minister and Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) president Keshubhai Patel for violating election code of conduct while going to a polling booth with a pilot car.

Keshubhai, who arrived in Rajkot today by a helicopter from Visavadar, went straight to polling booth Saraswati Shishu Mandir where he cast his vote.

However, the EC took serious note that he had taken along a pilot car with him.

“Using pilot car to reach to the polling booth is simply a violation of election code of conduct and therefore the Election Commission has served notice to Keshubhai,” an election officer said.

Meanwhile, after casting his vote, Keshubhai said, “The wind of change is blowing across the state and GPP will form the government with absolute majority.”

“Some power-greedy leaders are misguiding people by giving false statements but people of the state want a change and GPP will lead the change,” Keshubhai said without taking any names.

The first phase of polling is taking place today in Saurashtra and south Gujarat and state unit presidents of all the three major parties – R C Faldu (BJP), Arjun Modhvadia (Congress) and Keshubhai Patel (GPP) – are contesting the elections.