Ahmedabad, June 1 - In the backdrop of rebellion by BJP's Keshubhai Patel, a senior leader of the Patel community, the opposition Congress in Gujarat will organise a mega-meet of the numerically powerful community in the state next week.
The meet will be held at Mehasana on June 8, Congress announced here today.
It will be for the first time in a decade that the party would be organising a large gathering of the community.
Senior Congress leader Narhari Amin said that the Patels account for about a quarter of the population of the state but they have been ignored by the state.
"Population of Patels in Gujarat is around 1.5 crore out of the total population of six crore. But they have been ignored under the Modi government," Amin said.
Patels have always stood behind the BJP and responsible for the party's long stint here.
However, Congress is now sensing a chance to wean them away given that Keshubhai Patel, a known detractor of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, has come out in open against him.
Keshubhai, over the last two months, addressed various community meets stating that the community was living in fear in Gujarat.
He had also hosted a meeting of dissident BJP leaders recently to chalk out strategy against Modi in the run-up to the assembly elections.
Patel will be going to Dholkha in Ahmedabad district tomorrow to attend a community meet where lakhs of people are expected to come. Though it is called a non-political meet, it will have some political overtones.
"There is resentment in the Patel community as the people who were sentenced by courts in major riots cases recently were Patels. The community feels that nobody from BJP has stood by them when they were shown as accused in riot cases," Amin said. PTI