Other States

Gujarat witnessing second round of Patel agitation

Members of the Patel community shout slogans during a protest rally in Ahmedabad in 2015. Photo: Reuters

Members of the Patel community shout slogans during a protest rally in Ahmedabad in 2015. Photo: Reuters  

The Patels in Gujarat are apparently once again showing their tempers to BJP leaders who are witnessing strong protests from the community members in local government and community functions in various places in the state.

On Thursday, a top Cabinet Minister Nitin Patel was bowed out from condolence meeting of > Mayur Patel, who was injured in police firing in during the violent agitation and died last week. Number two in the cabinet, Mr. Nitin Patel, who is also spokesperson of the government and MLA from Mehsana town, was shouted out by angry Patidar members in the meeting in his own constituency, forcing Mr. Patel to leave immediately.

Similarly, another top Cabinet Minister Saurabh Patel avoided attending a government sponsored agriculture festival in North Gujarat where hundreds of Patidar members had gathered to oppose the minister's presence.

“It is again becoming very volatile in several Patel dominated pockets in North Gujarat and Saurashtra regions. The Patels are in no mood to relent on their demand for quota and strong action against policemen, who committed excess during the last agitation in which 11 persons died in police firing,” a said a BJP MLA.

According to him, the situation has become so charged that the Chief Minister Anandiben Patel has been advised against visiting or attending any public function in Mehsana, Sabarkantha and Patan districts where the agitation was originally launched from.

Recently, Chief Minister Anandiben Patel reportedly reprimanded the junior home minister Rajni Patel and some intelligence officials for failing to get inputs on the Patels trying to revive the agitation.

“The government should release agitation leaders like Hardik Patel and others who have arrested on politically motivated and fabricated cases at the instance of the government,” said Varn Patel, spokesperson of Sardar Patel Group (SPG), one of the two outfits that had launched the agitation in last July demanding OBC status to the Patel community in the state.

The BJP insiders said Chief Minister and other top leaders have decided to invite the Patel community leaders for talk to resolve the crisis that has caused the BJP suffer heavily in the recently held panchayats elections in the state. “Chief Minister held a long meeting with prominent leaders of the Patidar community and there will be many meetings at top level,” a senior official in the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said.

Adding fuel to the fire is Congress party that has announced to hold a massive rally to press for release of Patidar leaders, who are in jail. “On January 5, we will hold a rally to demand release of Patidar leaders who have been jailed by the BJP government in a bid to suppress the agitation,” said state Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 1:04:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/Gujarat-witnessing-second-round-of-Patel-agitation/article13975167.ece

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