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  India   All India  06 Dec 2017  ‘Temple politics’ come to fore in Gujarat

‘Temple politics’ come to fore in Gujarat

PTI
Published : Dec 6, 2017, 6:38 am IST
Updated : Dec 6, 2017, 6:38 am IST

Built in the last two years, both the temples have become centres of power and pride for the respective groups, sociologist Gaurang Jani said.

All eyes are set on two temples that epitomise ‘the pride and power of the Patidar community’ and exercise considerable influence. (Representational image)
 All eyes are set on two temples that epitomise ‘the pride and power of the Patidar community’ and exercise considerable influence. (Representational image)

Rajkot: As Gujarat nears the first phase of Assembly polls, all eyes are set on two temples that epitomise “the pride and power of the Patidar community” and exercise considerable influence among members, political analysts feel.

The Khodaldham Temple in Rajkot district, built by the Leuva sect of Patidars, and the Umiya Dham temple in Mehsana district of North Gujarat, built by the community’s Kadva segment, have gained political importance ahead of the polls.

Built in the last two years, both the temples have become centres of power and pride for the respective groups, sociologist Gaurang Jani said.

The Khodaldham temple’s two trustees — Dinesh Chovatiya and Ravibhai Ambaliya are contesting the elections on Congress tickets from Rajkot South and Jetpur respectively.

Another trustee Gopalbhai Vastapara is contesting on the BJP’s ticket from Lathi Babra in Amreli district.

The temples in Gujarat have often been in news for political reasons.

Former BJP president L. K. Advani started his rath yatra, for the construction of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya in 1990, from the famous Somnath temple.

Temple politics came to the fore again in 2002 when the Sabarmati Express was set on fire, killing Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya. It led to riots in other parts of the state.

Nareshbhai Patel, the chairman of The Shree Khodaldham Trust, met Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel last week. Hardik later claimed he had succeeded in clearing the doubts in the mind of Nareshbhai Patel. The trust, however, clarified later that it would remain politically neutral even as it admitted that it agreed with Hardik’s claim that a sizable number of Patidar community members live in poor conditions.

Tags: patidar community