In India, caste always takes center stage in the “democracy” dance. At rallies, politicians always have caste equations on their minds. An irreversible sliding can be started by one slip of the tongue.
This is possibly where Parshottam Rupala, the Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairy, of the Rajya Sabha, ended up following his remarks regarding Kshatriyas. But thus far, it hasn’t transpired.

Communities only started to reorganize to maximize their share of the power pie once Modi relocated to Delhi. The Patel quota protests, the Dalit uprisings, and the Thakors’ 2016–17 strength demonstrations were examples of this upheaval.
After Alpesh Thakor and Hardik Patel, two of the three main organizers of these agitations, joined the BJP, the unrest was put to an end. Patel is a member of the influential Patidar community, which has supported the BJP’s growth since 1980. The Patels, who fervently supported the saffron party in opposition to the KHAM (Kshatriyas, Harijans, Adivasis, and Muslims) social engineering formula, the creation of former chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki, are significantly responsible for the BJP’s growth in Gujarat.

Gujarat’s lopsided parliamentary election contest, in which the BJP won all 26 seats in 2014 and 2019, became somewhat fascinating following Rupala’s criticism of Kshatriyas, particularly Rajputs. In the LS elections, the BJP fielded the RS member. Kshatriyas urged that the party withdraw his candidacy from the Saurashtra constituency of Rajkot, where there is a strong caste difference.
However, protestors constrained their demands to the recall of Rupala’s candidacy while reiterating their allegiance to the BJP and their lack of disagreement with Modi. Even when Rupala apologized and the party made requests for “forgiveness,” the demonstrators persisted in their demands.

A nervous Rupala raced to New Delhi, came back with confidence, and launched himself into the campaign. It was obvious when he submitted his nomination that the BJP would not bow to the demands of the Kshatriya demonstrators.
Why did the BJP decide to support Rupala despite offending some members of the community? Numbers and the reverse consolidation of non-Kshatriya votes in its favour hold the key to the solution. None of Gujarat’s LS seats have a majority of Kshatriya votes. They might lower the BJP’s percentage of the votes, but they can’t bring it down.

Kshatriyas follow the hierarchy to the letter. The favored strata are blind to the inherent disparity in the community; others at the lower ends of the economic and social spectrum are aware of it. Therefore, other ambitious Kshatriya castes such as the Thakors or the Kolis hardly supported the demonstrators in Gujarat who identify as Rajputs inside the wider Kshatriya fold. In Gujarat, the Thakors and Kolis collectively constitute the largest electoral bloc.

The Gujarat Kshatriya Sabha (GKS) and other organizations’ attempts to bring all sub-castes together under one roof have failed. Former “royals,” who vehemently opposed the request for reservation and emphasized their superior rank, resisted GKS’s attempt for unification in order to press for reservation privileges. Afterwards, Kolis and Thakors were added as OBCs.
Regarding any potential electoral impact from the protests, the BJP need not be too concerned. The party’s preparations cannot be disrupted by these protests in the way that the displeased Patidars were able to do following the quota controversy, which caused the BJP to lose seats in Gujarat’s 182-seat assembly in the 2017 election.

This time, the Patidar votes in cities and villages are becoming more unified as a result of the BJP’s backing of Rupala, a Patel. In villages, Kshatriyas and Patels compete fiercely with one another. Leuvas and Kadvas, two Patidar factions, have come together as a result of the Kshatriya protest. Kadva Patidar is what Rupala is. His remark was directed towards Rajputs, to whom Kolis and Thakors had little connection.
The demonstrators, according to sociologist Ghanshyam Shah, are unable to organize resources in the same manner as the Patidars did during the 2015 quota uprising. The BJP pushed the patriarchs of the former “royalty” to appeal to the demonstrators in order to take advantage of the inequity among Kshatriyas.

The BJP is also trying to influence a different caste equation. The Patidar candidate is the target of Kshatriya wrath. Therefore, in Saurashtra, the agitation may make it harder to distinguish between Leuva and Kadva Patidars after elections. In addition, the BJP might garner the backing of the so-called lower castes, who would back its uncompromising position about Kshatriyas. So, it has no incentive to pay attention to Rajput objections.


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