Gandhinagar: The Anti-Corruption Bureau arrested former Gujarat minister of state for home and former Chairman of Dudhsagar dairy Vipul Chaudhary on Thursday. The allegations against him are that during his tenure as chairman of Dudhsagar dairy, a Rs 800 crore scam took place. Now he is on seven days' police remand.
But rumours floating around in north Gujarat political circles, say that it is less to do with financial irregularities and more with politics, a war going on between two sections of the Patel community, OBC Patels and non-OBC Patels, said sources in the BJP.
According to the sources Vipul Chaudhary, and BJP's other leaders like Shankar Chaudhary, Haribhai Chaudhary, sitting MP from Banaskantha Parbat Patel are Anjana Chaudhary, Patel's sub caste, that is included in the OBC category. Health minister Rishikesh Patel, former Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and Anandiben Patel are upper caste Patels.
Political analyst Hari Desai says that since the last one decade or so a constant effort has been made by some Patidar leaders to either sideline or cut to size Anjana Chaudhary Patels from politics, be it the cooperative sector or mainstream politics. First they got Shankar Chaudhary defeated in the assembly elections, then instead of nominating him as a Lok Sabha candidate from Banaskantha seat, they took the resignation of Parbat Patel (Anjana Chaudhary) and sent him to the Lok Sabha.
Desai says this is the first time that there is not a single Anjana Chaudhary representative in the state cabinet. According to his knowledge Vipul Chaudhary was victimised over corruption charges. But this time the ruling party may have to pay, because anti BJP anger in Anjana Chaudhary's is very high, who can vote against the BJP candidates in North Gujarat.
A senior BJP leader from Gandhinagar wishing anonymity told IANS, if Anjana Chaudhary decides, at least on 20 seats in five districts of Gandhinagar, Sabarkantha, Mehsana, Banaskantha and Patan they can sabotage the ruling party's prospects.
The leader said the timing of the arrest is not surprising, because on September 18 Chaudhary has called the All Gujarat Arbuda Sena meeting, the panel he led to contest elections in Dudhsagar dairy. In the last two months two major sensitive issues were raised by Chaudhary during his campaign -- about cows death due to lumpy virus with the state hiding the death figures and the OBC reservation issue.
Not just Anjana Chaudhary but now members of other castes falling under OBC category have started supporting Vipul Chaudhary, which was worrying the upper caste Patel leaders of the ruling party, so Vipul Chaudhary was their target, said the leader.
In Anjana Chaudhary dominated villages, Vipul Chaudhary supporters have started putting up banners and hoardings warning leaders against entering the village for campaigning until Vipul Chaudhary is released.