Ahmedabad: Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convenor Hardik Patel on Thursday said that they will extend their support to the Congress in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections only if their demands are met.
“If the Congress takes steps in support of our issue (reservation), we will directly or indirectly support the party… The andolan is still on,” Patel told ANI.
He informed that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi came to meet him on Diwali.
When asked if he is going to join the Congress to pursue the reservation issue, the PAAS convenor said, “I am not going to join any political party for the next two and a half years. Rahul visited to wish me during Diwali like any other people who come to meet me,” said Patel.
On the six organisations’ coming on the front foot against the Patidar leader’s demand to include the Patels in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category for reservation in education and jobs, Patel questioned if he was wrong then why had the people come to attend his rallies.
“People in huge numbers come to attend the andolan. They know that the fight on reservation is right but the media does not show this,” said irked Patel.
Alleging the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of spreading such news, he said, “But everybody is talking about this (organisations against the andolan). This is nothing but the BJP’s propaganda.” On the government’s claim that they have accepted all the demands kept forward by Patel and the protests that he is leading now is not related to Patidar Community but is an individual ambition, Patel asked: “What demands have been met by the government?”
“They rejected even the 1 percent reservation. The Aayog has still not been implemented,” he added.
On Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani calling him an “agent” of Congress, Patel affirmed that he instead considered himself as the agent of people.
The six organisations that are opposing Patel’s demand include Umiya Mata Sanstha from Unjh, Khodaldham Kagwad in Rajkot, Vishwa Umiya Foundation, Samast Patidar Samaj in Surat, Umiya Mataji Mandir in Sidsar and Sardar Dham in Ahmedabad.
The leaders of these organisations alleged that Patel is misleading the society in the name of reservation. They also alleged that Patel is taking political advantage of this demand. Patel’s reservation demand has come on the heels of the upcoming election here, wherein the Congress party is trying to woo the Patidar community.
Earlier, Patel had met the Congress leaders to discuss the reservation demand and gave deadline to the party to clear its stance on his demand till November 7. The Congress party had, however, said that it will make a decision after consulting the matter with legal experts.
The Congress is counting on the Patidar votes to sway the election results of Gujarat polls in their favour and uproot the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been in power since 1995 in the state. The polls will be conducted in Gujarat in two phases – December 9 and December 14. The counting of the votes will be held on December 18.