Continuing their agitation for the third consecutive day in Saurashtra, youths of Patidar or Patel community took out a rally in Rajkot and gave a memorandum to district collector demanding reservation for economically backward families of community.
Hundreds of youth took out a rally under the banner of Sardar Patel Group (SPG) from Sardar Patel Chow near Bahumali Bhavan on Race Course Ring Road to the office of Rajkot district collector in the morning. They raised slogans like Anamat melvine j jampishu (We shall rest only after getting reservation) and hamari mange puri hon ( fulfill our demands) and displayed placards reading: “Why no reservation for us?” and “stop injustice in awarding scholarships in schools and colleges.”
Ashwin Sorathiya, state vice president of SPG and Jigar Patel, president of Banaskantha district unit of SPG led the rally. The letter submitted a memorandum to Rajkot collector Manisha Chandra. The collector told the delegation that she would convey their feelings to the state government.
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“Our main demand is that reservation should be based on economic condition of a family and not on the caste. Due to reservation to certain castes, poor candidates should not suffer,” Sorathiya, 45, said while talking to media persons after the rally.
Patidars, which means landowners, had started their agitation in North Gujarat last month under the banner of SPG and Patidar Anamat Anadolan Samiti (PAAS), demanded reservation for youth of the community in government jobs and admission to educational institutes.
The agitation leaders say due to reservation to other castes, Patidars were losing out on opportunity to get government jobs and secure admissions in educational institutes despite better academic records. This scenario, they argue, is leading Patidar youths on “wrong track.”
“Why leave out only four or five caste out of reservation net? Not all families of Patidars are wealthy and having land is no guarantee of being wealthy. Kshatriyas and Brahmins are also with us in this fight,” Sorathiya, Class IX dropout and a builder by profession, further said.
College students participated in the rally in big numbers.
Patidars are divided into sub-castes of Kadva Patels and Leuva Patels. While North Gujarat districts are dominated by Kadva Patels, Saurashtra has majority of Leuvas. The community is affluent and influential politically in the state.
The rally in Rajkot comes weeks after a group of students submitted a memorandum to the district collector over the same issue. It also comes close on the hills of a similar rally in Jasdan town of Rajkot district on Tuesday and in Bagasara town of Amreli and Jamjodhpur town of Jamnagar district on Monday.
The memorandum submitted to the Rajkot collector demanded that Kadva and Leuva Patels be included in the other backward class (OBC) category of reservation and that government set up a Patidar Development Authority.
Sorathiya said they have planned another rally in Gondal on Friday.