National

Hardik Patel to launch nationwide protest

Priyanka Kotamraju New Delhi | Updated on January 23, 2018

Hardik Patel

To join hands with other communities to widen reservation stir

The Patidar agitation, so far confined to Gujarat, spilled over to the National Capital on Sunday. In a half-hour interaction with the national media, Hardik Patel, the 22-year-old convenor of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, gave a call to launch a nationwide stir to demand OBC reservation for the Patel community.

Recounting the incidents of August 25, , Hardik Patel said, “All protesters had gone back to their homes. At 2:30 pm the police came into our societies, our homes and beat up our kids. They broke windows of 6,000 vehicles, burned down buses. They told our boys, ‘if you want reservation, send us your mothers and sisters’.” It was then that Patel decided to take the agitation nationwide, wherever the “27-crore Patel community resides in India.”

“We are the children of Luv Kush, we have fallen apart. My main aim in coming to Delhi is to bring together the children of Luv Kush — the Kurmi Gujjar and the Patel communities. We are brothers, and our alliance will stand,” said Patel, who added that the outfit will continue to remain apolitical. “This movement is not supported by any political party. The Congress draws 2,000-3,000 people to their rallies, the BJP draws 10,000 and we pull 1 lakh supporters. This shows we have support.” Patel also added, “People are saying we are well-off. Only five to 10 per cent are prosperous. We are fighting for the 85 per cent of people. 182 castes are enjoying benefits of reservation, but only four-five castes are from Gujarat.”

Reservation, he claimed, has taken the country back by 60 years. “Reservation happened because of political parties. If you have to give reservations, give it to everyone.” The Delhi visit, Patel claimed, shouldn’t be seen as a challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “I like Arvind Kejriwal’s thoughts and Modi’s kurtas,” he quipped.

Announcing the launch of a nationwide agitation, Hardik Patel said that rallies will soon taken out in Surat, Lucknow and even at the Jantar Mantar in the Capital.

Earlier, at the Gujjar Bhavan, in west Delhi, Hardik Patel was welcomed by the members of the Akhil Bhartiya Gujjar Maha Sangh. However, there were voices of dissent too. Rajpal Singh Kasana of the Sangh called the movement “unconstitutional”, saying that “only those communities that pass the parameters listed by the Mandal Commission should be allowed to seek reservations.”

Published on August 30, 2015

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