Amit Shah to begin OBC outreach ahead of Gujarat elections | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Amit Shah to begin OBC outreach ahead of Gujarat elections

The OBC list in Gujarat includes 146 communities and is estimated to be about 40% of the state’s population

india Updated: Sep 14, 2017 23:58 IST
Kumar Uttam
BJP president Amit Shah during the 2nd Conclave of North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), in New Delhi.
BJP president Amit Shah during the 2nd Conclave of North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), in New Delhi.(PTI File Photo)

BJP president Amit Shah will travel to OBC-dominated Phagvel village in Kheda district to woo the community ahead of the assembly elections in Gujarat, the state which has been under the saffron party’s rule for nearly two decades.

“Shah will speak about the issues confronting the backward communities,” a BJP leader said.

The OBC list in Gujarat includes about 146 communities and is estimated to be about 40% of the state’s population. The BJP’s exercise to consolidate support among the OBCs is also aimed at offsetting any loss it may have in its hold over the land holding Patels (patidars) who dealt a blow to the party in December 2016 panchayat polls.

Immediately after its landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh, largely because of a groundswell of support among the non-Yadav backward communities, the Centre moved to provide constitutional status to National Commission for Backward Classes. The bill, however, got stuck in the Rajya Sabha after Congress forced an amendment to the draft law passed by the Lok Sabha.

But the BJP continued with its effort to consolidate OBC’s support. The Modi government announced on August 23 to raise the ‘creamy layer’ ceiling for OBC reservation from Rs 6 lakh per year to Rs 8 lakh. This brings more OBC families in the group of those availing of reservation benefits.

Significantly, Phagvel, from where the outreach programme will begin, is the same place in central Gujarat from where Narendra Modi had launched his Gaurav Yatra in 2002.

Phagvel, about 53 km from Godhra, is also the home to the temple of folk deity Bhathi Khatri, who belonged to a Thakur family and laid his life fighting a Muslim ruler to “free” cows.