More than 14 months after they launched the public agitation seeking Other Backward Class (OBC) status for the Patidar community, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), led by Hardik Patel, has now decided to submit a formal application to the Gujarat OBC Commission with the demand.
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PAAS leader Dinesh Bambhaniya, a close aide of Hardik, said, “We have met the OBC Commission chairperson Sugnya Bhatt today and she has asked us to come tomorrow at 2.30 pm to submit the application. Around 150 PAAS convenors and co-convenors will remain present while submitting the application.”
According to Bambhaniya, the application has been drafted in Hindi and it was finalised by PAAS leaders in consultation with Hardik. “It contains the grounds for including both Kadva and Leuva Patidars under the OBC list,” he added.
OBC status gives reservation to the communities under the list in education and government jobs. OBC Commission is the authority which grants the OBC status to a community after carrying out a survey on their history, including their social and educational backgrounds.
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Gujarat has 146 notified OBCs. The last community to be added to the list was ‘Darjis’ or tailors. The Modh Ghanchi community, to which Prime Minister Narendra Modi belongs, is on the list. Seventeen of these 146 communities are Muslims, such as Sipai, Pinjara, Muslim Ghanchi, etc.
Giving reasons for submitting the formal application to the OBC Commission now, Bambhaniya said, “Earlier, Gujarat government had given 10 per cent reservation to the economically weaker sections. And we thought that the state government will implement it. However, since the EWS reservation has halted now, we have decided to submit this application formally under the letterhead of PAAS.”
“Around 14 applications from different Patidar groups are already pending with the OBC Commission. PAAS’s application will be in addition to the pending applications,” Bambhaniya added.
Surat PAAS co-convenor Alpesh Katheriya said, “The memorandum (to be submitted to the OBC Commission) consists of over 30 pages which include the origin of Patidar community, their lifestyle, the holy deities they follow, their sources of income and the works they do. We have also attached photographs of many Patidars who are doing labourers’ work.”
Violent protests erupted in various parts of Gujarat following the Patidar agitation in July last year that forced Gujarat government to impose curfew and suspend mobile internet in many parts of the state. At least nine persons were killed during the violence.