Patidars are the economically and politically influential class of the Gujarat constituting around 16% of the population, spread over the region of Saurashtra and Kutch consisting of about one-third of the total 182 assembly seats.
The influence of Patidar community can be seen by the fact that when Vijay Rupani took over as the new chief minister, succeeding Anandiben after the Patidar protest led by Hardik Patel in 2015, he increased the number of Patidar ministers to eight from six in his cabinet of 24 ministers. Rahul Gandhi too had begun his ‘Navsarjan Gujarat Yatra‘ by visiting the Patidar-dominated areas.
So, what can the BJP do to attract the Patidars to vote for them?
The Patel agitation led by a young graduate was started with a rally in the year 2015 with a demand for OBC status. This protest had become so influential that Anandiben resigned from the post of chief minister after she failed to curb it.
Nitin Patel, the deputy CM of the state, also said that there would be a special inquiry commission headed by a retired High Court judge to look into the demands of Patidar before the assembly election.
The Patidars have been demanding for OBC status, however, they have also been voting for the BJP for a long time.