Navsari (Gujarat) Jul 5 (IANS): Though BJP's Jalalpore MLA R.C. Patel has expressed his wish to be re-nominated for a sixth term, if left to state unit president C.R. Patil, he will ensure that a replacement is found, as per sources.
The five-time MLA's statement that he was interested in getting a sixth term but the party does not seem interested has taken many by surprise with some party workers eyeing his seat.
While addressing the Koli Community meeting on Sunday in Navsari, Patel said: "I am 80 per cent interested in re-contesting Assembly elections for the sixth time, but the party is only 20 per cent interested in renominating me."
Party sources and political opponents are of the view that if C.R. Patil will have a say in selection of candidate, he will field a new face.
Patel belongs to the Koli community, and the community dominates not only Jalalpore, but also Navsari and Gandevi constituencies. If the party plans to drop Patel, it will have to select heavyweights from the community, or the three seats' prospects will be in doldrums, party sources say.
In 1998, Patel defeated Congress Stalwart C.D Patel with 1,692 votes, with every election the margin increased, in 2007 margin was 33,161, 2012 - 17867 and in 2017 25,664 votes margin.
Navsari District BJP President Bhurabhai Shah is confident of winning all four seats falling in the district. So far R.C. Patel's renomination is concerned, Shah said: "It is too early to say about candidates, on each seat many party workers are aspiring to contest, only the party parliamentary board will decide whether to renominate him or not."
BJP is doing injustice to Koli community, though Thakor and Koli community population together is 50 per cent of the state, the party is nominating hardly 12 to 14 Koli candidates, whereas 45 candidates from upper caste Patidars, Congress has decided to give due importance to Koli community and its candidates, claimed Shailesh Patel, president of the Navsari Congress Committee.
Sources from the BJP said: "R.C. Patel's statement has come because of synergy between him and C.R. Patil is not good. In 2017 Assembly elections, C.R. Patil wanted to replace him, in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, R.C. Patel has campaigned that the party should nominate Koli candidate for the Navsari Lok Sabha seat."
Sources said though R.C. Patel was five-term MLA, he was not made minister in Bhupendra Patel cabinet, whereas first time tribal MLA Gandevi constituency Naresh Patel was made minister. R.C. Patel was asked to continue as Deputy Whip of the party, it was clear injustice to Jalalpore MLA. So, if he is advocating for his candidature, there is nothing wrong in it.