Battling the unrelenting agitation by members of her own community, Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Monday categorically ruled out grant of OBC status and reservation benefits to the Patels.
“We cannot provide reservation to the Patels as the Supreme Court ruling has fixed the quota for the Other Backward Classes, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes,” Ms. Patel said, asking the protesters to talk to the government for a solution.
Meanwhile, the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), headed by 22-year-old Hardik Patel, has called a rally in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.
“We expect more than two million people to attend the gathering and have appealed for a complete shutdown in the city,” Mr. Hardik Patel told the media on Monday.
“Our agitation will continue till the government accepts our demand for quota in education and government jobs,” Mr. Patel said.Threat of clashes
The 22-year-old has become the face of the agitation, which now threatens to trigger caste clashes as the OBC communities have launched a counter-agitation opposing OBC status for the Patels, who are dominant politically and economically.Rejects talks
Mr. Patel has also rejected the Gujarat government’s invitation for talks with the seven-member Cabinet sub-committee, headed by Health Minister Nitin Patel.
“I will not go to meet anyone in the government. This is our genuine demand and we will fight till it is accepted,” Mr. Patel said.
In the last 50 days, around 190 rallies and protest marches have been taken out by members of upper castes like Patels, seeking reservation.