Hardik’s fast is 10 days old; Kejriwal tweets in support

Virendra Pandit | | Updated on: Sep 03, 2018

This August 31 photograph shows a doctor checking the health of Patidar leader Hardik Patel, in Ahmedabad | Photo Credit: PTI

25-year-old Patidar leader is demanding quota for Patels, waiver of farm loans

Patidar leader Hardik Patel’s indefinite hunger strike demanding reservation for the Patels, a waiver of farm loans, and the release of an aide completed ten days on Monday.

Despite his resolve, the 25-year-old appeared to be losing support among sections of his own community. Politicians, however, appeared to be backing him, many of them flocking to the venue of his fast, a farm house on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. On Monday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted in support. Earlier, former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, Gujarat Congress chief Amit Chawda, Congress MLAs, NCP leader Praful Patel and others visited Hardik to extend their support.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sent him a rakhi , while Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar, who tried to meet him, was turned away by his supporters lest the State Government dub them “anti-Gujarat”.

Hardik’s health has been a subject of speculation. Some sadhus of the Swaminarayan sect persuaded him to take water on Saturday. His supporters claimed he had lost six kg in the 10 days, and that his haemoglobin levels had plummeted. But government doctors said his condition was not critical. Subsequently, Hardik refused to be examined by government doctors and relied on private practitioners.

Meanwhile, the Patidar leader’s aides claimed the police was preventing his supporters from attending the venue from across Gujarat. The authorities have posted a posse of policemen outside the venue.

Apparently trying to stay relevant amid dwindling support — many of his erstwhile supporters streamed back into the ruling BJP in a year — Hardik announced his “will” on Sunday, making his parents, Bharat and Usha Patel, his heirs. “My soul may depart from this body anytime; so I decided to declare my last will,” he said.

His associate Manoj Panara said that if anything were to happen to Hardik, ₹30,000 from his total bank deposits of ₹50,000 in a private bank would be bequeathed to his parents, and the balance donated for the upkeep of a gaushala near his native village of Chandranagar in Ahmedabad district. He also expressed his desire to donate his eyes after death.

But few seem to be taking notice. Even Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, the State Government’s chief interlocutor in the Patidar agitation, has left for a foreign visit.

Published on September 03, 2018
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