Ahmedabad: Against the backdrop of rebellion by BJP`s Keshubhai Patel, a senior leader of the Patel community, opposition Congress will organise a mega-meet of the numerically powerful community in Gujarat next week.
The meet will be held at Mehasana on June 8, Congress announced here on Friday.
This will be for the first time in a decade that the party would be organising a large gathering of the community.
Senior Congress leader Narhari Amin said that the Patels account for "around 1.5 crore out of the total population of six crore" in the state.
"But they have been ignored under the Modi government," he alleged.
The community has been a strong base for the BJP and is responsible for the party`s long stint here.
The meet comes at a time when Keshubhai Patel, a known detractor of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, has come out in open against him.
He had recently hosted a meeting of dissident BJP leaders to chalk out a strategy against Modi in the run-up to the assembly elections.
He will also be going to Dholkha in Ahmedabad district on Saturday to attend a community meet, which is expected to be attended by lakhs of people.
"The resentment among Patels is very high. They are fed up of this government which believes in ruling by fear. They want change now," Amin claimed.
In reply to a question on whether they would invite Keshubhai for the Mehsana meet, Congress leader Siddarth Patel said, "This is for the first time in many years that they (Congress) are organising a meeting on party`s symbol and only those who follow party`s ideology will be called."
Another Congress leader Natubhai Patel said that they were not banking on Keshubhai.
However, sources in the party said that Keshubhai`s rebellion has presented a "great opportunity" for the Congress in terms of the community.
"If Patel community comes to their fold, BJP will be defeated in many seats," they said.