Days after the Gujarat government invited Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) for talks over quota agitation, the Patidar body Tuesday finalised the names of its 11 representatives who will hold talks with the government over their various demands, including “constitutional reservation” for the Patidar community, in Gandhinagar on December 1.
PAAS held a meeting of their state-wide conveners to select the 11 representatives. The meeting was held in Udaipur where PAAS leader Hardik Patel has been staying after the Gujarat High Court granted him bail in sedition cases under the condition that he would stay out of Gujarat for six months. Hardik, however, chose not to be part of the team to hold talks with the state government.
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According to Dinesh Bambhaniya, close aide of Hardik and core-committee member of PAAS, the 11 members include Lalit Vasoya, Manoj Panara, Ketan Patel, Dinesh Bambhroliya, Kirit Patel, Varun Patel, Uday Patel, Anil Patel, Alpesh Katheriya, Narendra Patel and Bambhaniya himself.
Bambhaniya said, “In our meeting today, we have finalised the 11 names. And we will be meeting the representatives of the Gujarat government at Gandhinagar Circuit House on December 1. Hardik has chosen not to be part of the team since he cannot enter Gujarat.”
Bambhaniya added that the date was decided following a telephonic conversation with Deputy CM Nitin Patel after the meeting. “We do not know who from the state government will talk with us,” he added.
“We have already given a list of our demands through a memorandum to various state authorities 156 times. But since this is a new government which has invited us for negotiations, we will hold talks with them on our demands,” Bambhaniya said.
Bambhaniya said their chief demands would be to have financial assistance and employment for the families of 14 Patidars who died during the agitation, action against the persons responsible for ordering police action on Patidars, formation of Patidar Commission and the “constitutional reservation” for the community.
Meanwhile, in a message on one of the WhatsApp groups of PAAS, Hardik posted a message, clarifying why no Patidar woman was included in the team that will hold talks with the state government.
Hardik said that no woman Patidar leader was included in the team as the PAAS members did not have “full faith” in the state government. He said, “We do not know what could be the conspiracy of the state government… If we find that the state government discusses in proper manner and it has Patidar community’s interest at heart, we will bring our woman power in further meetings.”
Apart from the 11 names finalised at the Udaipur meeting, one additional name is that of PAAS convener from Himmatnagar, Ravi Patel. His name has been finalised as a “reserved representative” who can participate in the meeting if any one of the 11 cannot take part.
The Gujarat government had, on November 24, given an open invitation to Hardik and PAAS to discuss issues related to the Patidar agitation. Inviting Hardik and PAAS for talks, Deputy CM Nitin Patel had also ensured to adopt “positive approach” and “intense efforts” to resolve their issues. The state government had shown willingness to meet Hardik and his representatives at any place and time of their choice.