On a day when BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha and former Union minister Yashwant Sinha met Hardik Patel, who has been on a hunger strike for the last 11 days, the state BJP government on Tuesday broke its silence, calling the agitation led by the Patidar leader as one “motivated by the Opposition Congress”.
The government also said that those meeting Hardik in solidarity were “anti-Gujarat and opponents of Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.
Hardik has been on strike demanding farm loan waiver and reservation to Patidars in government jobs and education.
In a statement, Energy Minister Saurabh Patel said: “Patidar reservation agitation is motivated by the Congress.. The BJP’s suspicion, expressed three years ago when the agitation has started, of it being supported by the Congress from behind has come true…Not only that, those visiting Hardik are those Congress leaders who are anti-Gujarat and opponents of Narendra Modi.”
“When the Supreme Court and the High Court have given verdicts to the effect that reservation cannot be given beyond 50 per cent, what is Congress party’s stand on it,” Saurabh asked, while adding that the Congress was adopting “double standards on the issue of reservation for Patidars”.
“This agitation is politically motivated and it should conclude politically. The Vijay Rupani government is committed to ensure that peace and tranquility are not jeopardised,” he added.
Shatrughan Sinha, however, rejected the government’s charge, saying, “This is not an agitation motivated by one particular party. It is motivated by all parties…It is an agitation of the farmers’ justified demand being taken up by Hardik Patel. What is the reason that (farmers’) loans are not being waived?”
Shatrughan Sinha said that although he was a BJP MP, he was visiting Hardik as a people’s representative.
Extending his support to Hardik, Yashwant Sinha said, “The issues on which Hardik Patel is holding fast have created an impact across the country. The issues are being discussed everywhere. We stand with Hardik Patel.”
Later in the evening, Saurabh Patel along with Revenue Minister Kaushik Patel and Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja met leaders of six socio-religious outfits of Patidar community and requested them to convince Hardik break his fast.