Gandhinagar, April 30 (IANS) A section of residents of Karamsad in Anand district of Gujarat on Monday began an indefinite fast to demand national recognition for the town associated with independent India’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
“We have been seeking for long a special status for the town where Patel grew up and even spoken to the central and state governments, but to no avail. All that these governments are doing is make promises,” said Bipin Patel, a member of the Sardar Hit Rakshak Samiti formed by the town residents, on their demand.
In 1995, residents of the town — about 100 km from Gandhinagar — first mooted the proposal. At the same time, another proposal on Porbandar, the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, was also sent to the authorities. While Porbandar was accorded the status then, Karamsad residents continue to fight for a similar status to their town.
Sardar Patel was born in Nadiad town on October 31, 1875, but got his early education in Karamsad, where his elder brother was settled.
In 2002, the residents met then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who allegedly promised national status for Karamsad but things did not move.
“The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has only used Sardar Patel’s name to seek votes but does not seem interested in our demand. Even questions raised by Modi as Chief Minister do not seem to be eliciting any answers from him as Prime Minister,” remarked Paresh Dhanani, Leader of Opposition in the Gujarat Assembly.
Dhanani was referring to the questions raised by the then Chief Minister against the “injustice” meted out to Gujarat by the then United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre.
“You always fight someone who is opposed to you. But, we are not fighting anyone. We are just trying to raise our demand, as one does within a family,” said a protester Ramesh Patel.
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said that both the state and the central governments had done quite a bit for a monument to house the memorabilia of Sardar Patel in the town.
“The Urban Development Department has done good work in Karamsad. We have refurbished the building and maintain it quite well,” he said.