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A day after two formidable leaders of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) Reshma Patel and Varun Patel joined the BJP, Patidar movement leader Hardik Patel addressing farmers in Madheli village in Vadodara’s Waghodia taluka on Sunday said he is not joining any political party but will work for the community. “I am fighting for the rights of the community. We will stick to our three main demands ‘Reservation’, ‘Employment to youth’ and ‘Loan waiver to the farmers of Gujarat, whichever party will agree to this we will support them,” Patel said.
In response to the PAAS members Varun Patel and Reshma Patel joining BJP on Saturday, Patel said, “People are with the issues which we are fighting for the community not with the persons associated with it, people may come and go but fight will continue.”
Earlier in the day, Patel addressed farmers of the Madheli village in Waghodia where he slammed BJP government for not addressing the issues of farmers. He said there has been no development of farmers, adding that earlier they used to earn enough to spend on the marriage of their children but now farmers are not even able to pay fees for their higher studies.
Patel also appealed to farmers not to vote blindly for any party. “Bev Congress ane BJP masia bhai j che, BJP mahachor che to Congress chor che (Both Congress and BJP party are cousin brothers, if one is BJP big thief then congress is thief),” he said.
Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Patel said, “I keep reminding my father to check my bank account whether Rs 15 lakh have been deposited in it or not…the money has got deposited, not in our account but in the account of Jay Shah (BJP president Amit Shah’s son)?”
Hardik was welcomed at several villages in Waghodia Taluka, which is dominated by the Patel community from Waghodia to Godhra. Patel said, “Though central Gujarat has quite a good numbers of Patidar community there is no active support from the central Gujarat in our fight”.
However, in Madheli village people not only form Patidar community but from other communities also gathered from nearby villages. One farmer, Ayub Solnaki, said, “Huge high voltage electric wire lines of GETCO are passing through our fields which is using our land. We don’t want our land to be reduced, as we are not getting fair value for that.” Addressing the issues, Hardik told the gathering that the government must provide monthly rent to landowners like when someone rents their land to install private mobile tower. “But government is not interested in the development of farmers,” he said.
Patel also met members of the Muslim community in Godhra. Addressing them, he said we have to fight together for better government in this country. Attacking BJP he said, “BJP’s policy is divide and rule, they are even trying to divide Muslim community, in coming days we all have to fight for our rights united.” Anwar Kalandar, a scrap vendor who came to felicitate Patel, said, ” I have come here to support Hardik whatever he is doing for his community is necessary.” In an apparent reference to Congress MLA C K Raulji of Godhra who recently joined the BJP, Patel assured the gathering and said: “I am here to fight for your issues and rights, it is time we have to teach a lesson to those who have betrayed us.”