Dhari MLA Nalin Kotadiya on Tuesday demanded immediate release of Patidar quota stir leader Hardik Patel and warned that members of the community will convert if “the Gujarat government, which claims to champion the rights of Hindus, fails to protect them from police atrocities”.
Kotadiya, with whom BJP claims to have “cut all ties”, once again asked the Patidars to vote against the party in local body elections. His statement came days after Patel families in Surat and Amreli district threatened to convert if the government does not concede the demand for OBC status and quota benefits.
“Leave the question of granting reservation to the Patidars, I have strong objection to cases filed by the Gujarat government and police against innocent people, framing them in false cases, slapping sedition charges against Hardik Patel and making his arrest. They should be released immediately and if they are not, the Patidar community will demonstrate for the Gujarat government as to what it can do in Gandhian ways. It will also teach a lesson to the government by voting against BJP in coming elections,” Kotadiya said in a two-minute video that he shared on social media.
The MLA, who is a Patidar, claimed the government has failed to protect rights of the Patidars. “If the Gujarat government, which claims to champion the rights of Hindus fails to protect Hindus, if we find it difficult live and do farming here, we shall not hesitate to convert in order to protect our interests, get reservation and escape the atrocities that we are currently being subjected to. We are planning to tour entire Gujarat and will see to it that majority of the Patidars convert,” he said.
Kotadiya was elected from Dhari in the 2012 Assembly elections on a ticket of Gujarat Parivartan Party. However, the GPP merged with BJP last year and Kotadiya became a BJP MLA.
Meanwhile, reacting to some the Patel families’ threat to convert, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Shankersinh Vaghela said conversion is not a solution to any problem. “One needs to represent before the state government, if one has any problem. It is the responsibility of the state government to accept or reject the demand. But, threat of conversion can not solve the problem,” he said in Ahmedabad.