Ahmedabad: After almost six months of maintaining suspense, influential Patidar leader Naresh Patel, who heads Shree Khodaldham Trust, on Thursday announced that he will not be joining politics as of now.
Notably, Gujarat Congress was hopeful of inducting Patel into the party fold ahead of the state Assembly elections to be held in December and several rounds of meetings had taken place to discuss the issue with senior party leaders in Delhi in the recent past.
Patel said that although youths and women were in favour of him joining active politics, community elders were totally against it.
”Patidar elders told me that I will not be able to give justice to every community if I join a political party. Moreover, many community projects of Khodaldham related to education, health and agriculture are still incomplete. My goal is to finish these important projects first,” Patel told reporters at Khodaldham in Rajkot district. ”After taking into consideration these factors, I have decided not to enter politics at this juncture. You can say I have cancelled that idea permanently. But no one knows what will happen in future” he added.
On the occasion, Patel also announced the opening of ‘Khodaldham Political Academy’ in the Khodaldham campus to prepare and train youths of all the communities wanting to take up active politics. Notably, a committee of the trust had conducted a detailed survey to find out what the community had to say about Patel’s entry into politics. Referring to the findings of the survey, Patel said almost 80 per cent youths and 50 per cent women were in favour of his entry into politics.
”However, almost 100 per cent elderly citizens opined that I should stay away from politics. And I found their concerns legitimate,” he said, adding that he would even ask his son Shivraj to stay away from active politics.
The Khodaldham Trust, headed by Patel manages the affairs of Shree Khodaldham temple dedicated to goddess Khodiyar, the patron deity of the Leuva Patel community, in Rajkot district. The Patidars form about 11-12 per cent of the population in Gujarat and are an influential caste group whose votes can sway results in many constituencies.