Ready for talks with Gujarat government: Patel leaders

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Ahmedabad, Feb 17 (IANS) The Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, spearheading the pro-reservation agitation by the Patel community, has submitted a letter to Chief Minister Anandiben Patel to express willingness to initiate talks over the quota issue.

The letter was submitted by the fathers of three Patel youth leaders – Dinesh Bhamaniya, Chirag Patel and Ketan Patel – currently lodged in the Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad.

The three are close associates of PAAS convener Hardik Patel, 23, who is also in judicial custody at the Lajpore jail in Surat.

The letter said the agitating Patel leaders will repose faith in any agreement likely to be reached between the state government and a panel led by community leader Jairam Patel, who heads a religious institution revered by the community.

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The letter, according to sources, contains the names of a couple of dozen Patel quota stir leaders and is signed by Dinesh, Chirag and Ketan.

“We empower senior community leader Jairambhai to have discussions with the government on the issue of reservation for Patels and release of Patel leaders from various jails,” the letter reads.

“We also appreciate the efforts of your government to begin withdrawal of cases lodged against the agitating leaders and hope that you will continue with the positive approach towards finding an amicable solution going forward.”

Though the letter carries the name of Hardik Patel, it does not have his signature.

Hardik Patel, in a letter to his father last week from Lajpore jail in Surat, said that the agitation will continue till all their demands were met.

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He was allegedly approached by a powerful senior bureaucrat on behalf of the Anandiben Patel government with an offer of Rs.1,200 crore and a senior post in the youth wing of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party at the national level. He had urged his father not to succumb to any such offer.

The Patels in Gujarat are agitating since July last year for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions.

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