Growing Diamonds to Stir: In a business meeting, PM Modi pleads for Patidar’s vote

Amid murmurs of Hardik Patel’s discontent in Congress and anticipation of prominent Patidar Naresh Patel’s political debut, Prime Minister Narendra Modi weighed in for the BJP in the fight for the community vote.

His speech Friday at the Global Patidar Business Summit (GPBS) in Surat, delivered virtually, ticked all the boxes to address community concerns, as well as evoking the Patidar turmoil that scared the BJP in 2017, although he finally returned to power in the Assembly elections.

While this was the third such trade summit, it was the first time Modi had spoken about it. Then Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani was the main speaker the first two times.

With unemployment being one of the main causes of Patidar’s unrest, Narendra Modi urged the business community in Patidar to “get out of the 15 to 20 big cities” in the state and set up businesses in smaller towns to ” extend the reach of development”. With agriculture stagnating within the once largely agrarian community, the Prime Minister has sought to invest in agriculture and not just real estate. “Just like you make diamonds shine, so do farmers,” he said, while addressing the audience as “son of farmers.”

In an indirect reference to the agitation for the reservation of Patidars, which had been led by Hardik, Modi said: “There are boys in your area who come out against us waving flags… They come out in the streets shouting Murdabad Murdabad. “He said the Patidar community should educate them on how far they have come, specifically referring to the period before the 24-hour power supply scheme started by him as CM of Gujarat.

The Prime Minister said his government at the Center wanted to create an environment where young people from ordinary families become entrepreneurs. “We just have to build our self-confidence, our spirit of self-reliance,” he said.

Businessmen who attended Modi’s speech said they believed in the promises he made. Some said they have already started discussions on how to do group farming and locate large tracts of land to support the same.

Patidar Global Business Summit South Gujarat Chairman, Vipul Bhuva said, “We organized a meeting of prominent businessmen during which we discussed group farming opportunities in larger scale. The youth wing of the Summit was tasked with identifying these lands. It would be like a conglomeration of Patidars. The youth wing was also tasked with researching agricultural crops and best practices.

Bhuva added, “The reason why Prime Minister Modi has called on Patidars to take on different responsibilities is because he knows that if a message is sent to senior brass, the whole community will follow it.”

Gagji Sutariya, Chairman of Sardardham, Ahmedabad, which organized the Summit, said, “We have seen Narendra Modi working as a CM and now in Delhi. In his seven years as prime minister, he looks 20 years older than his age. It’s thanks to all his hard work. Modi and the Patidar community have a good relationship, Sutariya added.

A Patidar leader on condition of anonymity said: “When Modi was the CM, there was no Patidar movement. Every political leader and business leader in Patidar was happy. When Anandiben Patel (a Patidar) took over as CM, many community-based political leaders became disgruntled as they felt their wishes were not being granted. This led to an internal war between the political leaders of the community.

The leader stressed that the demand of the community for the withdrawal of the cases registered against their members during the demonstration has been met.

The Patidar Anamat Andolan Samithi had led the quota agitation. Its organizer Alpesh Katheria, however, said Modi was wrong to refer to the unrest from the platform of a business summit, adding that they saw it as a link to the upcoming elections in Assembly.

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