Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday took out time ahead of the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train to call on former Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai Patel to express his condolences over the death of his son.
Patel's son Pravin had passed away recently in the USA after a heart attack. The aged politician could not attend the last rites of his son due to ill health.
Patel is a strong Patidar leader hailing from Saurashtra. The courtesy visit to pay condolences assumes significance considering that a section of Patidars are unhappy with the BJP and are seeking reservation under the OBC category.
Modi and Patel's sweet-bitter relationship dates back to more than four decades. They were among a handful of people who laid the foundation of the BJP in Gujarat. While it is said Patel was instrumental in ousting Modi from Gujarat BJP's organisation, Patel can never forget how he was removed as the chief minister and Modi was brought as his replacement in 2001.
Patel, who was angry with the treatment meted out to him by the BJP central party leadership, soon floated a new party. However, after a couple of years, the party men returned to the BJP.