Hardik Patel, the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee working president, on Monday threatened to revive the Patidar agitation if the pending demands are not met by March 23, and said he was ready to quit the party for this.
He said that demands related to the 2015 agitation put forth by the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) have still not been fulfilled. And this has forced him and other Patidar leaders to revive the agitation.
“During the month preceding the ultimatum date of March 23, which is Bhagat Singh’s death anniversary, we have planned to hold four programmes. The Patidar leaders and all those who want to join the agitation will approach the elected representatives and submit their memorandum. Similarly, the government offices at Tehsil and districts will also be approached,” said Jayesh Patel, Hardik’s aide and convenor, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS).
“The BJP government has not heeded to our demands so far and their assurance of fulfilling all the pending demands have proven to be just a lollipop. I am once again raising this issue. If the demands are not met, then we will once again revive the Patel agitation, and it will be of the same intensity as was in 2015,” said Hardik.
He said the PAAS’s demands regarding the reservation for the Patidar community was justified since the state government and the Centre had made provisions to give reservation to the poor and backward classes and 10 per cent quota for the economically backward upper castes.
“The government can take our ultimatum of March 23 as a request as well as a threat. We have been requesting the government to fulfill their assurances,” Hardik Patel said.
“Anandiben as the chief minister withdrew many cases but the Vijay Rupani-led government has not withdrawn any. So we are repeating our demands to the new leadership. If the government wishes to have vengeance against me let it be, but at least withdraw the sedition cases against 202 others,” said Hardik.
Hardik said that as many as three to four thousand youths were still affected due to those cases. “They are having trouble in securing government jobs, studies or for going abroad,” said Hardik.
Patel said that after their movement in 2015, the Central government had announced 10 per cent reservation for the backward upper castes.
“It is not that only the Patel community benefited out of that reservation, but the entire society benefited,” Hardik Patel said.
Besides the withdrawal of police cases, the other demands of PAAS include providing jobs to the kin of the Patidar youth who lost their lives during the agitation.
“The government has still not fulfilled our demands such as jobs for the family members of those who died during the Patidar movement,” he said.
The working president of GPCC said that he was ready to step down from the party to revive the agitation if the need arose.