Addressing a meeting where he was heralded as “the future prime minister of the country”, Patel leader Hardik Patel on Sunday urged his supporters “to speak with swords instead of garlands”, saying this was the only way to “conquer India”.
Taking a dig at the dozens of leaders who garlanded him during the event, Hardik said, “My language may seem different to you because I believe in straight talk, not pleasing people. Achchi baat hai phoolon ke haar se swagat karte hain, par meri maano toh yeh haar pehnana chhodo. Jahan haar pehna, wahin haar shuru. Haar chhodo aur talwar nikalo… Yahan pe talwar se baatein chalti hain (It’s good that one is welcomed with flowers. But if you ask me, that’s the beginning of defeat. Forget flowers, bring out the swords. Here, that’s the only language that works).”
He was addressing a gathering of Gujjar and Kurmi communities in East Delhi, attended by representatives from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Gujjar leader Nathu Ram Gujjar introduced him as a future PM.
Calling for a united front of Kurmis, Gujjars, Jats and Patels for reservation, Hardik said isolated, community-specific agitations were failing. “Nobody could break the Luv-Kush pair. We have to be a front so tight that nobody dares look at our mothers and sisters.” Hardik has repeatedly underlined the supposed links of Gujarat’s Leuva and Kadva Patels to Lord Ram’s sons Luv and Kush.
The Gujjars had been agitating in Rajasthan, Patels had lost lives in Gujarat, Hardik added, but if they had “not succeeded” in getting their voices heard, it was because they had been timid. “Talwar ko khoon lagana padta hai (Swords have to taste blood),” he said, amid slogans of “Jai Sardar”.
“Our Patels in Gujarat think no one listens to us in Uttar Pradesh, that we get robbed in UP. Give us a year, the whole country will have to heed us.”
Calling women to join his agitation, Hardik said, they were welcome to join with even their “belans (rolling pins)”.
The Patels respect Mahatma Gandhi and idolise Sardar Patel, he added, “but when pushed, we can become Chandrashekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh”. “This is the only way to get fateh (victory) over India. All castes have to be one and fight. If someone touches any of our sisters, break his hand. Koi aankh uthata hai toh saalon ki aankh nikal do (If someone dares you, take out his eye),” Hardik said.
“They will come to our homes, beg us to take reservation” after this, he added.
In an apparent reference to a pet project of Narendra Modi in Gujarat, Hardik said, “Sardar Patel’s beliefs should be in your heart. Building a 180-metre statue and playing politics around it is not acceptable. Sardar Patel did not say push farmers to commit suicide.”
As for “the Gujarat model”, Hardik said he knew what it meant. “After our agitation, the Gujarat Police entered our homes and told our women, ‘If you want reservation, come to us’. 8,900 farmers have committed suicide in Gujarat, all of them Patels. In the last decade, only 465 of us have got government jobs in Class III-IV ranks.”
It were the high rates of unemployment and corruption that had pushed him to demand reservation for Patels, he said. “Even MBAs in Gujarat have to become salesmen. A seat for an inspector sells for Rs 25 lakh, a constable’s post is up for Rs 15 lakh.”
He added that the country was still suffering because Sardar Patel had not become PM in 1947.
Hardik again raised the Supreme Court late-night hearing in Mumbai blast accused Yakub Memon’s case to underline his point. “Which constitution says the SC should open for a terrorist at 3 am? If you can do that, don’t give us rules. Give us what is our right or we know how to snatch it,” he said.
Explaining Patel power, Hardik talked about a friend who had come from the US.
“He told me, ‘You are so powerful. Open an address book in the US, it only has Patels’. In the US, there is no reservation, so Patels go there. He told me to tell Modi saheb to give Patels reservation here or all of us will go to the US. Soon the US president will be a Patel,” he said, to cheers.
As a Gujjar leader who interrupted his speech to question his demand for reservation of Jats was pushed out by the audience, to slogans of “Jai Sardar, Hardik Patel zindabad”, Hardik made it clear there was no space for dissenters as far as he goes.
“Even if people are from your own community and not supporting you, throw them out. Out of 27 crore Gujjars, if even one crore are not supportive, pick them and throw them out, even if it’s the prime minister or chief minister… A single fox can disturb a herd of tigers. Even if that is my father, throw him out. Our priority should be unity, unity and unity.”