Prominent Patidar quota stir leader Lalji Patel on Monday met Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and her senior ministers Nitin Patel and Vijay Rupani, demanding the government take a lenient view on jailed community leaders like Hardik Patel.
Lalji, who was arrested in April for alleged rioting during a jail bharo andolan in Mehsana and released only last week on bail, said since the government has already granted 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker sections (EWS), his priority was now to secure release of jailed Patidar leaders like Hardik, who is facing sedition charge. The leader of Sardar Patel Group (SPG) also sought withdrawal of criminal cases against quota stir leaders.
“Today, I first met Nitin Patel and Vijay Rupani (also BJP president in Gujarat) and then met the Chief Minister. Our main agenda was to press for demands like release of rest of the jailed Patidar leaders, withdrawal of cases against the Patidars and to see to it that the 10 per cent reservation is sustained,” he told The Indian Express after the meeting.
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He further said: “Just like the government showed a positive approach and did not oppose my bail plea two days ago, we requested government to show similar lenient approach towards the other.”
“The government has assured us that they are positive to all our demands. And regarding 10 per cent reservation, the ministers told us that they will strongly defend it right up to the Supreme Court,” Lalji said.
On his group’s stand on demand for Patidar quota, he said: “Our demand was never to get an OBC status for the Patidars. We wanted reservation on economic grounds, which the government has granted. And looking at the forms being filled up by various EWS of upper castes under the new rule, it seems evident that they are happy with the same.”
“Our demand was 20 per cent reservation instead of 10 per cent, but to press for that we will first consult our community leaders,” he added.