Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Tuesday blamed the opposition for turning her own Patel community against her through the “reservation conspiracy” to extract political benefit during the local body elections.
She, however, claimed that the community was returning to the BJP where it belonged.
Trying to strike an emotional pitch at an election rally and a road show in her hometown Patan and neighbouring Mehsana in north Gujarat’s Patel-dominated region, the chief minister said: “They (the Congress) are targeting a woman chief minister. There is a conspiracy to have the Patidars against me.”
“According to constitutional provisions, no government can increase or decrease the percentage of reservation to those who are getting it. If I try to make amendments in the prevailing reservation system, it would be my turn to go to jail.”
Patel said the opposition Congress was “frustrated” and was using the Patels to fight against the BJP rule but they would not succeed.
She said several members of the agitating Patidar Anamat Andolan Samaj (PAAS) and Sardar Patel Group (SPG) have returned to the BJP.
The chief minister said she could not favour one caste or a person at the cost of another, in this case, the Other Backward Classes (OBC), among whom her community was looking for a share.
The first phase of the two-tiered elections for local bodies took place on Sunday to elect six city municipal corporations, while the next and final round to pick as many as 317 municipalities, tehsil panchayats and district panchayats would take place on November 29. The results would be out on December 2.