Leaders of the Patel community on Sunday announced that they will organise public rallies in major districts of Gujarat to demand Other Backward Class (OBC) status and benefits of reservation under it in government jobs.
“We will not cancel our rally in Vijapur (in Mehsana district) and it will be held on July 28 where at least 50,000 Patels will participate. On the same day another rally will be held in Mandal taluka of Ahmedabad district,” Hardik Patel, member of the Patidar Anamat Samiti told reporters here.
Giving an ultimatum to Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, he said, “The Patel community remained deprived of its rights since four decades and neither the BJP nor the Congress improved our condition”.
“Despite our representations to mamlatdars of various talukas, they (government) did not consider our demands,” Patel said.
“We are giving an ultimatum to fulfil our demands before the 2017 assembly elections. Otherwise they will make a promise to fulfil it and then put our demand on the backburner after the election,” Patel said.
“In other states including Uttar Pradesh, Patels get reservation as OBCs. If the Chief Minister will not listen to us, then we will say that even she failed to satisfy our demands,” Patel said.
“Massive public rallies will be organised in places like Viramgam on July 29, in Gondal on July 30, in Himmatnagar on August 3, in Gandhinagar on August 3, in Rajkot on August 5 in Vadodara on August 13 and in Surat on August 18,” Patel said.
Another rally of around 20 lakh people will be held in the city here on August 22 which will begin at Sabarmati riverfront to the collectorate, Patel said.
He claimed that around 14.69 lakh members, mostly youth, and around 92 community groups have extended support to them.
Hardik’s colleague Manoj Patel, who is president of the BJP’s youth wing in Vijapur taluka of Mehsana, said that some Gujarat ministers have been exerting pressure on him to wind up the stir for reservation.
“Some of agents and representatives tried to approach me as well as exerted pressure on me to wind up this movement,” Manoj said.
“The Gujarat police and the local administration has threatened to put me behind bars,” he alleged.