In land of cars, splurging is trend and caste is key

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Nano plant in Sanand. File Photo Nano plant in Sanand. File Photo
SummarySanand town, site of Tata Motors’ Nano plant, is ready to welcome Ford and Peugeot next.

opposite the Nano plant. He gave 30 acres himself.

“It is a bubble that will soon burst,” echoes Amulya Parmar, who runs a petrol pump on the recently opened state highway 17. “Once the money is spent, you will become a landless labourer.”

He too has gained from Sanand’s transformation, with sales from his station having increased five-fold since 2007 when the Nano plant was announced. His station supplied petrol for the initial Nanos that rolled out.

The Sanand wing of the GIDC is on the verge of becoming state’s largest in terms of land acquired, with rough estimates predicting over 5,000 hectares by the end of the year.

But the government has ignored infrastructure such as roads, schools, colleges, nor has it helped set up ancillary units that could have created job opportunities. Sanand has a couple of ITIs but no college. In 2008, the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority included 22 villages of Sanand but is yet to divide these into industrial or commercial zones that would have enabled it to start putting infrastructure in place.

“Caste is a major factor here,” says Congress leader Pankaj Vaghela. He says the Congress has already gained the edge over the BJP by fielding Kamsi Patel, whose Koli Patel community, at an estimated 17 per cent, represents the single largest section of the electorate.

The BJP has fielded Kamabhai Rathod, sitting MLA of Viramgam. The Rajput’s nomination has upset local party workers. Kanbha Gohil, a Kshatriya, has switched to the Congress because of the nomination. “Although Rajputs are Kshatriyas, other sub-castes such as Darbars and Thakores view them as outsiders,” Gohil says.

The Darbars and the Thakores together constitute about one-fourth of the total 2 lakh votes. A tenth are OBCs, while five per cent each are Rabaris and Kadva Patels. The Leuva Patels represent two per cent.

BJP leaders insist they have got the caste equations right. “If you consider the whole of Ahmedabad district, we have distributed tickets to Patels, Rajputs and Kshatriyas. We have a lot of support from the Koli Patel and Kshatriya communities, besides other communities who form the largest number

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