After a dramatic build-up, for the second time in a week, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) called off its ‘reverse Dandi yatra’ after government spokesperson and cabinet minister Saurabh Patel mediated for talks with chief minister Anandiben Patel on Monday.
As the countdown to a possible confrontation at Dandi in Navsari district, the Gujarat government blinked first to avoid another riot, since the PAAS had been mobilising support even from outside Gujarat.
When contacted, state finance minister Saurabh Patel, who had so far, been ostensibly out of the Patidar dialogue, told The Indian Express late Saturday, “We were always open for talks. I spoke to their members — not Hardik — and they have agreed to call off the march tomorrow”.
Alpesh Katheriya convenor of PAAS, Surat told this paper, “The yatra has been postponed. Hardik and some of us, will meet the chief minister, maybe around 11 am Monday, for dialogue.
Earlier attempts by the seven member ministerial panel headed by health minister Nitin Patel, had not made any breakthrough leading to a political stalemate.
Saurabh Patel took over Saturday evening talking to PAAS members and finally convinced them.
Although pressure had been mounting on PAAS, which faced non-co-operation from some of its members who refused them venues to host press meets after the riots, the Patidars had successfully managed to give out messages to ministers and top leaders from the community that they were unhappy. Women with steel plates and rolling pins had created a din and disrupted public meetings of three such leaders in the last week.
Hardik continued to remain unavailable, as even his close associate Dinesh Patel who had told this paper, minutes before the postponement message went out, that Hardik would surface straight at Dandi Sunday morning, refusing to disclose his whereabouts, remained unavailable on phone.