Ahead of the August 25 mega rally of Patidars in Ahmedabad to press for OBC status, cracks have started showing up in the various groups which appeared united in the Monday Surat rally that drew about 4.5 lakh community members to the streets. The Patidar leaders from Ahmedabad, who claimed to be members of Sardar Patel Sevadal Ahmedabad, accused both Hardik Patel and Lalji Patel, the duo behind the agitation, of non-cooperation and keeping locals in dark over mega rally details. While the agitation so far was mainly conducted under the umbrella of Sardar Patel Sevadal Mehsana, led by Lalji Patel, or Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, led by Hardik Patel. But by Tuesday, a couple of new groups came into existence, including Patidar Aarakshan Samiti and Patidar Sankalan Samiti. At least three groups separately have announced to be the organiser of the August 25 rally.
On the other hand, if the messages circulating in social media were anything to go by, the groups of Hardik and Lalji had split wide open, with the latter allegedly accusing the former of “trying to catch limelight through Patidar agitation”. An audio clip, allegedly by Lalji Patel, was doing the round wherein he accused Hardik of gaining personal publicity in the name of the agitation.
The cracks have appeared day after the successful rally in Surat on Monday. Besides, on the same day, 17 leaders from the community from various parts of Gujarat also met high-level state government’s committee to press for inclusion in OBC quota to get college admissions and and government jobs and declared the talks as failure. “Both Laljibhai and Hardik claim to run the agitation but they have been behaving very irresponsibly,” said Suhag Patel, who represents Sardar Patel Sevadal Ahmedabad. He added, “If they would not make plans and stand clear very soon, we will ban their entry in Ahmedabad on August 25.” Suhag Patel maintained that the community was united in their demand. He added, “But they (Hardik and Lalji) have been misguiding the members.”
Hardik has accused the state government of trying to divide the community. “The government has been instigating a few of our members to divide the community. August 25 rally will happen in Ahmedabad at the riverfront, even if the government doesn’t give the permission.” Lalji Patel said, “I will have to inquire about the audio clip. We all are united.”