Six leading Patidar social organisations, which had held truce talks with the BJP-led Gujarat government in September, in their first open criticism of quota agitation leader Hardik Patel on Wednesday said he now has transformed the “Patidar anamat andolan” into his “personal anamat andolan”, and that he was supporting the Congress, despite no promise on OBC reservation benefits to the community.
These six organisations, which have formed the Patidar Organisation Committee (POC), said the primary demand of the agitation was quota benefits to the Patidars after enlisting of the community in the OBC category. Addressing a press conference, R P Patel — convener of the POC and leader of Vishva Umiya Foundation (Ahmedabad) — said, “When the agitation began, it was clear that the demand was of OBC reservation. The entire community was together on getting OBC reservation… After that, a compromise formula was struck (with the BJP government). And, we think that the agitation is over now.”
“Now, Hardik is saying that it is fine if the Congress does not give reservation, but, we (the Patidar community) have to defeat BJP. My question to Hardik is turned Patidar andolan into personal andolan that the community had done agitation to get OBC reservation and not to defeat or make victorious any party… If this is what was to be done, then who is responsible for the death of 14 youths,” said R P Patel.
“The demands of the community are being decided by the main six organisations. His (Hardik’s) demands are not those of the Patidar community,” he said, adding that “the Patidar Anamat Andolan has now become Hardik’s Personal Anamat Andolan or his Private Anamat Andolan.” Hardik-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) and the Congress had held a meeting recently over the Patidar demands, and the party made its stand clear on all the issues except on OBC reservation for the community. The Congress had earlier promised 20 per cent quota for unreserved communities on economic grounds.
The six organisations comprising the POC are Umiya Mataji Sansthan (Unjha), Umiya Mataji Sansthan (Sidsar), Samast Patidar Samaj (Surat), Khodaldham Trust (Kagvad), Vishva Umiya Foundation (Ahmedabad) and Sardardham (Ahmedabad). These outfits had recently announced Rs 20 lakh compensation for the families of each of the 14 Patidar youths killed in the quota violence. On OBC leader Alpesh Thakor joining the Congress, another leader of the POC C K Patel said, “It is ironic that Alpesh Thakor who is saying that he will not allow anyone to touch the OBC quota in Gujarat has joined the Congress, and now, Hardik is also supporting the Congress… In such a situation, I wonder, what will Congress do? Will it keep the word of Alpesh or that of Hardik?” “It is high time, the Patidar community understood that political parties are trying score using the name of Patidar community. The Patidar community should not be used as a tool,” C K Patel added.