By: ENS & PTI
Ahmedabad police on Thursday allowed leaders of the Patidar community to hold a rally at GMDC ground on August 25.
While police claimed Patidar representatives sought permission to organise a rally of three lakh people, a prominent community leader expected the number surging to 25 lakh. The Patidars or Patels are demanding OBC status and reservation benefits.
“Today, we gave permission to Patel community leaders to hold their rally at GMDC ground here on August 25,” joint commissioner of police (Special Branch) Vikas Sahay said. When asked whether any condition was attached while granting the permission, the police official said, “They (Patel leaders) asked for permission to hold a rally for three lakh people and we have granted it.”
However, Ketan Patel, a community leader, said, “When we began this movement for reservation, it was hard to get 50,000 people to our rallies. Now, after the movement has increased spontaneously, we expect more than 25 lakh people to participate on August 25.”
After meeting the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and city police officials, Patel leaders agreed to their proposal to hold the rally at GMDC ground near IIM crossroads instead of the earlier proposed venue of Sabarmati Riverfront.
After the meeting, Deputy Municipal Commissioner S M Khatri announced that the AMC would give permission to park vehicles at the Riverfront.
Meanwhile, the Sardar Patel Group, one of the outfits spearheading the agitation, would be organising a rally in favour of demand for OBC status in Vadodara on Friday. The group expected nearly three lakh participation in the rally which would start from Navlakhi compound to proceed on the route that Prime Minister Narendra Modi took when he filed his nomination from Vadodara for the Lok Sabha polls in 2014.
The Patidar leaders, including “face of the agitation” Hardik Patel, would later submit a memorandum stating their demand to the district collector.
“The rally will consist of 10,000 motorcycles, 500 autorickshaws, 200 cars, 300 tractors and thousands of people on foot… Hardik Patel will be our special motivator for the rally… This historic rally for our demand will be a DNA test for all five MLAs of Vadodara,” a statement released by the group said.
Four companies of SRP, 1,000 homeguards, 17 police inspectors, 60 sub-inspectors and 500 constables have been deployed on the route.