According to party officials, Khodaldham chief Naresh Patel’s entry into the Congress may be a matter of days now as Patel has made up his mind. An influential industrialist from Saurashtra, he is the head of the Khodaldham Trust which runs the Khodal Mata temple in Kagwad. Khodal Mata is the ruling deity of the Leuva tribe of the Patidar community, which dominates the Saurashtra and Kutch regions.
Patel is expected to get a prominent position with the decision-making power of the candidates for about 30 seats in Saurashtra, people aware of the matter said. According to analysts, the Patidar community plays a decisive factor in at least 50 assembly seats in the state and many others.
Patel has long hinted at his desire to join public life and, given his social status, makes a great catch for political parties in the state. But he seems to have a choice for Congress. He first sought the mediation of electoral strategist Prashant Kishore for his inclusion in the party, according to acquaintances.