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Gujarat: As Patidar and Kshatriya clash, the caste cauldron unnerves the BJP

The governing party in Gujarat is stuck between two powerful castes as the Kshatriya community continues to press for the replacement of Union minister Purushottam Rupala as the BJP nominee for the Rajkot Lok Sabha seat. Patidars have launched a social media campaign in favor of Rupala.

The Patidar community, comprising around 18% of Gujarat’s population, is influential in over seven of the state’s 26 Lok Sabha seats.

Rupala’s comments regarding the group have sparked protests by the Kshatriyas, or Rajputs, over the last week. One well-known Patidar and BJP politician, Jyoti Tilwa, sent out a message calling for togetherness. “It is inappropriate for anybody to have such a worry, even after Rupala has apologized several times. The message said, “Let us wake up, my brothers and sisters, and support Rupala sahib.”

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Social media has been used by several other Patidar leaders to show their support for Rupala. The community had canceled its last-minute Thursday gathering that was scheduled to take place in Vadodara. Rather, Rupala’s Gandhinagar home hosted a gathering with BJP officials.

Lalit Vasoya, a prominent Patidar and Congress candidate for Lok Sabha from Porbandar, has said that the BJP is trying to create a rift between the two groups.

“Some BJP leaders are dividing two groups on a personal grudge against Rupala. I reject this endeavor. The two communities’ friendly connections must be maintained, Vasoya told the reporters.

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