Hardik hospitalised, stalemate continues

Virendra Pandit | | Updated on: Dec 06, 2021

Khodaldham trustee Naresh Patel meets Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel during latter's indefinite hunger strike for reservation since Aug 25, in Ahmedabad, on Friday, Sept 7, 2018.

Gujarat govt sets up ministerial team for talks with agitating Patidar leadership

On the 14th day of his indefinite fast on Friday, Patidar quota stir leader Hardik Patel was hospitalised, even as his supporters vowed to continue the agitation.

The State Government formed a four-member ministerial committee for talks with the agitating leaders but there were no signs from the BJP-ruled Gujarat government that it could accept Hardik’s demands.

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani left for New Delhi on Friday evening to attend a two-day BJP National Executive meeting there. Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel is abroad.

Energy Minister Saurabh Patel said Hardik’s condition was “normal”, adding the State Government was “open” for talks with the Patidar leadership of six socio-religious institutions, who, he said, had been “humiliated” by the Hardik’s supporters by spurning mediation offers. “After Hardik’s hospitalisation, we have not received any proposal for talks.” He reiterated that the Congress, while backing Hardik, had never cleared its stand on its roadmap for providing reservations to the Patidars.

On Friday morning, two senior police officials met Hardik at the venue of the fast, apparently to persuade him to shift to a hospital.

“I had difficulty in breathing. I have been hospitalised due to ill-health and effect on kidney (sic). So far, the BJP is not ready to accept the demands of our community and the farmers,” Hardik tweeted from his hospital bed. The tweet, his first reaction in days, was in Hindi, evidently to reach out to a bigger audience outside Gujarat.

Hardik had begun his fast on August 25, the third anniversary of his first pro-quota agitation, to press for the demands of reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for the Patidar community, a complete waiver of farmers’ loans, and the release of his associate, Alpesh Kathiria, who is in jail on charges of sedition.

In the last fortnight, a number of non-BJP politicians and BJP dissidents trooped to the venue of his fast on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.

Apparently realising that matters were at a stalemate — he had also announced to give up water on Thursday evening, for a second time — Hardik agreed to be admitted to the Government Civil Hospital, Sola, for medical examination by doctors whose services he had been consistently turning down. Private doctors had been allowed to monitor only his blood pressure, pulse rate and weight as he refused to undergo an electro-cardiogram or provide blood and urine samples.

Naresh Patel, trustee of the influential Khodhaldham Trust, a Patidar socio-religious institution, met Hardik on Friday. Earlier, Patidar leaders had also met the 25-year-old youth and tried to mediate between PAAS and the State government.

Manoj Panara, spokesman for the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), said doctors had feared that Hardik could pass into coma as his liver and kidneys were getting affected due to the fast. He appealed to the government to accept Hardik’s three demands. Panara had, on Thursday, given a 24-hour ultimatum to the State Government to accept the demands or face an intensified agitation. He also said that PAAS was ready for talks if invited by the government.

Meanwhile, Congress leaders including Gujarat unit chief Amit Chawda and Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani sat on a 24-hour symbolic fast at Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad in support of the demand for a farm-loan waiver and Hardik’s fast.

Published on September 07, 2018
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