After sitting on a 14-day hunger strike in Ahmedabad, Gujarat quota agitation leader Hardik Patel’s health deteriorated on Friday and he was taken to a hospital, news agency ANI reported. He has been sitting on an indefinite fast since August 25 to push for farm loan waiver and demanding reservation to Patidar youths in government jobs and education.
Patidar Ananmat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) functionary and spokesperson Manoj Panara was quoted as saying by PTI that Hardik agreed to be shifted to Sola Civil Hospital after his supporters requested him to do so in view of his failing health. Following the end of a 24-hour ultimatum by the PAAS to the Gujarat government to begin talks with Hardik, he had on Thursday evening stopped intake of water, Panara said. However, the spokesperson said that the PAAs leader’s agitation will continue. Hospital authorities said Hardik was in the ICU and a team of doctors was treating him.
Hardik was advised by Naresh Patel, a senior Patidar leader, to call off the strike or take medical treatment as “everyone was worried about his health”.
“Hardik has not taken water since the last 18 hours. I told Hardik that everyone is worried about his health and that he should call off the hunger strike as soon as possible. He told me that he will inform me soon about his decision to call off the fast,” said Naresh Patel.
During the meeting, Hardik also asked Naresh Patel to mediate with the Gujarat government and hold talks on three of the former’s demands.
The Congress had yesterday announced that they will observe a 24-hour-fast across the state on Friday in solidarity with Patel. Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Paresh Dhanani had announced this after a Congress delegation, comprising 25 MLAs and other senior leaders, met Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and handed him a memorandum raising a range of issues, including the demands raised by Hardik.
Hardik Patel getting treatment at Sola Civil Hospital of Ahmedabad. His organisation, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, says that Hardik will continue his fast from hospital and will not take anything through mouth. @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/Ciko8yRs3E
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Gujarat Congress has come in support of the Patidar youth leader’s demands over farm loan waiver and reservation to the Patidar community. The Gujarat BJP government had asked Hardik to call off his fast, but the party’s stand on talking to the Patidar leader over his demands was not clear. Earlier, the state government had termed Hardik Patel’s fast a political stir backed by Congress.
On Tuesday, BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha and former Union minister Yashwant Sinha had met Hardik Patel and expressed their support. On the same day, the state BJP government broke its silence, calling the agitation led by the Patidar leader as one “motivated by the Opposition Congress”.