Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel, who said he wants to include castes like Kurmis and Gujjars in his agitation for reservation, on Sunday faced opposition from a section of Gujjar leaders in New Delhi during an event held to felicitate him.
As Hardik began his address to the gathering, a Gujjar leader, Rajendra Mawi, who claimed to be president of Akhil Bhartiya Gujjar Mahasangh, interrupted him by accusing him of extending support to the demand for Jat reservation.
Mawi, who was pushed out of the venue after a brief scuffle, later said, “We are opposed to him (Hardik)… How can we support him when he is also supporting the demand by Jats for reservation.”
He said that Hardik was supporting the Jat cause even after their demand had been struck down by courts on the basis of petitions filed by different OBC communities, including Gujjars.
Mawi further said that, given the political dominance of the Patels, they should talk to the Gujarat government and the Narendra Modi dispensation at the Centre regarding their demands.
“In Gujarat, Patels had governments in the past and even now they have a government in the state. At the Centre, too, Gujarat has a say and they (Patels) should talk with the state government and the Centre,” he said.
Mawi claimed there was some “power behind Hardik” and that he had approached Gujjars knowing that they were a “martial” community and their support will help him put pressure on the government on the Patel reservation issue.
Meanwhile, Gujjar leader Omvir Singh Mandara, president of OBC Arakashan Raksha Samiti, said that Hardik is being opposed by Gujjars because if reservation is given to Patels, then it will be accommodated in the 27 per cent quota for OBCs.
“We are opposed to him because he is demanding reservation for Patels. We have no objection to his demand if reservation is given to Patels beyond the 27 per cent OBC quota,” he said.
Another Gujjar leader, Dharmendra Bhagat, charged, “Hardik is trying to ride two boats together by roping in Jats and Gujjars… We had opposed reservation to Jats and cannot support him if he talks of reservation for Jats.”
Hardik was felicitated at the programme at Gujjar Bhawan in Kotla village which saw attendance by representatives of various Gujjar outfits.