Banners both in favour of and against Patidar leader Hardik Patel have come up in Varachha and Bhatar areas of Surat city. While those put up by Hardik’s outfit Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti invited the Patidars to a public meeting led by its leader in Varachha on March 19, the others accuse him of cheating the community. A large number of Patidar youths have been busy ensuring maximum participation in Hardik’s rally at Yogi Chowk in Varachha. The PAAS has put up banners in Varachha and circulated messages on social media to garner support for the public gathering, besides holding group meetings at several residential societies in the area.
However, banners questioning Hardik’s agitation for Patidar quota have come up in Bhatar area of the city. These questioned protests against the state government when OBC reservation is recommended by the OBC commission, and also certain decision by Hardik leading to the crackdown on Patidar protesters following a mega rally at GMDC Ground in Ahmedabad in August 2015. “Who had given you the right to demand resignation from elected Patidar community leaders?,” the banners asked. The banners have been put up by a Bhatar resident, identified as Yatin Rupareliya.
Talking to The Indian Express, Rupareliya, a Patidar, said, “I am diamond polisher and we have a group of 90 youths, and we work for social cause in the city. We are against Hardik Patel’s stand for attacking the state government and demanding reservation. Hardik Patel and his team are organising group meetings in different places in Gujarat to seek support from the Patidar community. For his own personal gains, he is doing such work. If he is demanding reservation, he should approach the OBC commission and work in a legal way.”
Surat PAAS co-convener Dharmik Malaviya, however, said, “We suspect the group that had organised Deputy Chief Minister Notin Patel’s public meeting in Udhna area of Surat behind this act. They want to divide the community and they have become tool of BJP. We are working hard to make the Hardik Patel’s public meeting at Yogi chowk a great success and we expect over 50,000 people participating in the meeting.”