Amid talks of working out a compromise formula between the ruling BJP and Patidar quota stir leaders, BJP MP from Porbandar Vitthal Radadiya and Patidar leader Jerambhai Vansjaliya met Chief Minister Anandiben Patel at the latter’s office inside Assembly complex on Tuesday. The leaders met the CM and handed over a sealed letter sent by Patidar quota stir leader Hardik Patel from jail. Radadiya and Vansjaliya have been mediating the talks between the quota stir leaders and Gujarat government. Vansjaliya, vice-president of Jamnagar-based Patidar religious group Mataji Mandir Trust, confirmed their meeting with the CM. He said that it would be followed by further meetings later.
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Official spokesperson of the Gujarat government and senior cabinet minister Nitin Patel also confirmed the meeting, adding that the government was hopeful of positive results following negotiations. Talking to mediapersons, Nitin Patel said that the Patidar leaders who met the CM had communicated that Hardik was positive about resolving the issue. Hardik’s father, Bharat, had also accompanied the group that went to meet the CM. However, Bharat said that he chose not to go inside the CM’s chamber where other leaders met her. “I did not meet the CM. I stayed back in the lobby. I did not want to go inside,” he said. “They have handed over a letter by Hardik containing a list of 27-odd demands that include appropriate action against atrocities committed against Patidar community during the agitation,” Bharat added.
Radadiya and Vasjaliya have separately met Hardik many times inside the jail. “Since the cover was sealed when it was given to us, we don’t know the exact details of these 27 demands,” Radadiya said when asked about the charter of demands. “Chief Minister told us that she will go through the demands and give her response in due course. We think that government’s approach is positive,” Radadiya said.
Though Radadiya did not gave details of the demand of quota agitators, as earlier spelt out by Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) members, it includes quota for Patels, withdrawal of all cases against them and compensation for kin of those killed during quota agitation. “I don’t want to comment on cases in courts. That is a legal process,” Radadiya said when asked to comment on government’s stand on bail applications of Hardik and other PAAS leaders. The state government has opposed the bail plea of Hardik and his key aides, who are behind bars in sedition cases, in the courts.
The state government has filed two separate sedition cases against Hardik. Various other cases have also been filed against him across the state. Hardik is at present lodged in Surat’s Lajpore jail. His three key aides are lodged in Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati jail.
Patels are demanding their inclusion in OBC quota so that community members can get reservation in education and government jobs. The agitation had turned violent and had claimed 10 lives last year.
With PTI inputs