National

Rupani govt names panel to cool Patel tempers

| Updated on: Sep 27, 2017
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Unmoved by the decision, Patidar leaders say reservation agitation will continue

The Gujarat Cabinet on Wednesday made yet another attempt to placate the powerful Patidars — who have been demanding reservation — by announcing a welfare commission, and also a probe panel to look into alleged police excesses committed against the community during their quota stir in 2015.

The Cabinet, which met under Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, approved the formation of an inquiry commission under a retired High Court judge to probe the police action. Suitable action will be taken based on the report, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said.

“Also, police cases will be withdrawn against Patidar youths wherever the government can do so. The government will also consider formation of a separate commission for the welfare of non-reserved communities including Patidars,” Patel said.

However, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel, who is spearheading the reservation agitation, did not seem to be pleased with the government’s announcements, terming them “poll-oriented” and a “mockery of the non-reserved communities”.

“The government is not acting on its words. Former chief minister Anandiben Patel had already agreed to drop some of the cases against Patidar youth. That has not been implemented so far. We want results, not words,” Hardik said.

In April 2016, then chief minister Anandiben Patel had announced a 10 per cent quota for Economically Backward Communities, which was later quashed by the Gujarat High Court, which termed it “unconstitutional and illegal”.

Along, with several PAAS convenors, Hardik had met the deputy CM on Tuesday to end the stand-off. While Nitin Patel termed the meeting fruitful, Hardik called it a failure and vowed to continue the reservation agitation.

Rahul woos Patels

Meanwhile, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi has mounted his efforts to connect with the peeved Patidar community and gain their support for the upcoming polls.

On the last day of his three-day ‘Navsarjan Yatra’ in Saurashtra, Rahul ensured he visited key Patidar pockets in Surendranagar and Rajkot districts.

He had also climbed the Chotila hill to visit the Chamunda Mata Temple, and the Khodaldham-Khodiyar Mata Temple in Kagvad of Rajkot district which is a holy shrine of the Leuva Patidar community. Addressing a gathering, Rahul said, “Education and employment is the right of every youth. The struggle by the Patidar community will not go waste. Justice will be done, when Congress comes to power.”

The Congress leader also promised a farm loan waiver within 10 days of forming a government in the State.

Published on January 10, 2018

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