Modi tries to coddle Patels with two ministers of state slots

Ahmedabad, July 5 (IANS) Induction of two Patel community leaders — Parshottam Rupala and Mansukh Mandaviya from Gujarat’s Saurashtra region — into the Union Cabinet on Tuesday is seen as an effort to placate the affluent community ahead of the December 2017 state assembly polls.

Considered close to Modi, Rajya Sabha member Rupala, 64, was Agriculture Minister when Modi was Chief Minister. A powerful Patel leader, Rupala is in his second term in the Upper House.

Mandaviya, like Rupala, is a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat. He was an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad leader and general secretary of the Gujarat BJP.

A native of Bhavnagar, Mandaviya is a prominent leader of the Patels, who are seeking reservation on par with Other Backward Classes in the state.

Jaswantsinh Bhabhor, a tribal from the state’s eastern belt, was also inducted in the Union Cabinet by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from his home state.

Bhabhor was Tribal Affairs and Environment Minister in Modi’s cabinet in Gujarat. A five-time legislator, Bhabhor was elected to the Lok Sabha from Dahod constituency for the first time.

–IANS

desai/tsb/dg

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