Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel has planned an extensive campaign in Surat city, encompassing six Assembly seats, ahead of the first phase of elections on December 9.
Hardik, convener of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, will take out his Jankranti Maha Rally — a vehicle rally — on Sunday in the city, where the Patidar population is significant. He will also address a public meeting at Yogi Chowk in Varachha area of the city.
On November 3, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had held a large public meeting in Varachha. Hardik recently extended support to the Opposition Congress in this Assembly polls and maintained in his public meetings that if the BJP wins the elections, it will be a defeat for the Patidars.
The PAAS has sought police permission for Hardik’s 30-km roadshow and also for the public meeting. The Patidar outfits threatened to go ahead with the campaigning even without police nod.
In the run-up to the Assembly elections, members of the PAAS and the ruling BJP have clashed on several occasions.
According to a roadmap prepared by the Surat PAAS team, the Jankranti rally will start at 9 am from Gajera circle at Katargam and culminate at Yogi Chowk at 9 pm.
“We have planned the roadshow-cum-rally in such a way that all the six constituencies — Katargam, Surat North, Karanj, Varachha, Kamrej and Olpad, where Patidars reside in large numbers — will be covered. There will be over 5,000 motorcycles, over 500 cars, and 50 autorickshaws in the rally. We have made songs on Hardik which will be played during the roadshow. We are expecting over 30,000 people to take part in the vehicle rally… over one lakh people will attend his public meeting at Yogi Chowk,” said Surat PAAS co-convener Alpesh Katheriya.
Katheriya said, “During the roadshow, Congress candidates will felicitate Hardik Patel. But, if BJP MLA candidates reach there, we will not allow them to join in. It is a fight between the Patidars and the BJP.”
The PAAS is using social media platforms for inviting people to join Hardik campaign, besides other media.
Katheriya added, “Today, we submitted an application for the roadshow and the public meeting to Surat police. If we don’t get permission, we will take out the rally and organise the public meeting anyway. If police arrest us before the rally starts, we are ready for it.”
Asked about the application from the PAAS, Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma said , “We will give them permission for the rally and the public meeting. We will talk to the PAAS team and tell them to shorten the time for the rally to ease traffic. We will also tell them not to make inciting statements.”