Jayesh Patel, 41
He was picking up the empty plastic water pouches strewn on the GMDC ground from where the Hardik Patel-led rally had marched to the collectorate. Jayesh runs a computer institute in Vadodara and believes that India would never become a superpower if reservation continued. “I am not against a support system for the SC/ST categories. They are poor and it is the duty of the state to support them. But why not those economically backward from all communities — Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians?” he wondered.
Haribhai Patel, 58
From Kalyanpura village in Kadi taluka of Mehsana, Haribhai Patel worries about the future of his two grandsons. He worked for 20 years in HR Industries at Vatva in Ahmedabad and after retirement he has been farming on his 10-bigha land back home. “My son did diploma in engineering, but couldn’t get a good job. He now runs his own shop, but the earning is not good enough. Had I belonged to OBC category, things would have been different. I am a graduate and may be would have got a good job back then,” Haribhai said. He added, “I believe that the time has come to give reservation on the basis of economic condition rather than caste.” A staunch BJP supporter, Haribhai had participated in the Nav Nirman movement in the ’70s, but this time he has taken to the streets for his community.
Urvi Patel, 26
A dentist, Urvi Patel got 90 per cent marks in Class XII, but couldn’t do MBBS because of the quota system. She came to the rally with her husband, Ruchil Patel (26), an orthopaedic. The couple from Ahmedabad have been voting for the BJP. Her husband has been running a hospital and she a clinic. Asked what they would tell Modi if they met him, the couple said, “We would ask him to do away with reservation. Why is it that a ST candidate becomes an IAS officer and his son, too, enjoys the benefits of quota.”
Mansukh Patel, 60
Sixty-year-old Mans-ukh Patel vividly remembers the days at the Pratap Raj Arts College in Amreli when he participated in the students’ agitation in 1975. A resident of Bagasra village, he said that his son, a mechanical engineer, was forced to start his own business after years of struggle for a government job. He said that he was happy for his son, but his grandson’s future looked bleak, given the kind of reservation for other communities in school, college and in government jobs. “I get only Rs 2,500 per month from the cotton that I produce in a year. I can’t think of sending my grandson to a good public school,” Patel said. He wants Modi to either bring Patels under OBC quota or do away with the practice.
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