A six-hour long meeting between three ministers of Gujarat government and an 11-member team representing Patidar youth leader Hardik Patel over reservation for the Patidar community ended inconclusively with a promise of one more meeting in near future here on Thursday.
The meeting was planned after Gujarat government recently invited Hardik and his outfit Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) for negotiations on their issues related to reservation stir.
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The three ministers representing Gujarat were Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and Ministers of State Pradeepsinh Jadeja and Nanubhai Vanani.
Addressing media after the meeting that began at 11 am and ended at 5 pm at Van Chetna Kendra, PAAS media convener Varun Patel said, “There is no outcome of today’s meeting. We, 11 of us, were here with complete authority to take decision. However, the state government team did not have any authority to take decision and they had come without doing homework.”
“Today, they have understood our four demands thoroughly. And after that they have sought time till Monday to bring the same before Chief Minister and their party high command to take appropriate decision,” Varun added.
“In the interest of the Patidar community, we are ready to hold one more meeting with them. In the next meeting they will have to come up with specific decision on our demands. If the government tries to adopt dilatory tactics in that meeting, then our agitation will be continued even more aggressively and there will not be any other meeting with them,” he explained.
On behalf of Patidar community, PAAS has put four demands before the state government — financial help and government jobs for the dependents 14 Patidars who died during agitation, action against persons responsible for police atrocities on Patidars, formation of Patidar Commission and constitutional reservation for the community.
On state government’s part, Nitin Patel said, “Today, we have held detailed discussion on the four demands of PAAS from various perspective and we will put forward the details to the Chief Minister and party high command on Monday. After that further discussion will be held.”
Reacting to PAAS statement that the state government team came without taking any authority and without doing homework, Nitin Patel said, “They wanted to take all decisions today itself. But, we are running a government where decisions have to be taken after proper discussions and consultations.”
About the four demands of PAAS, Nitin Patel said, “About OBC status for Patidars, we have told them that they have to approach the OBC Commission whom the state government may request to expedite the matter (as per rules)…Whereas, for constitutional reservation, we have already given 10 per cent reservation to Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) and the matter is pending before the Supreme Court. And taking cognisance of our arguments, the SC has referred the matter to a three-judge bench.”
On action in connection with police atrocities, Patel said that under the orders of Gujarat High Court, one team had already been formed for people to lodge their complaints against police.
For Patidar Commission, he said that the government has given assurance of considering it. The meeting was also attended by Suart PAAS leader Alpesh Katheriya. Katheriya is an accused in a sedition case in Surat city. Patel evaded a reply on his presence saying he was meeting PAAS leaders for first time.