Surat: The violent Jat stir seems to have set the alarm bells ringing in Gujarat government which today send an emissary to meet jailed Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel to explore a compromise on the vexed issue. Prominent Patel leader and BJP MP Vitthal Radadia, who met Hardik in Lajpore jail, claimed that the government may consider withdrawal of cases registered against Patel leaders, including that of sedition against Hardik and others, if the deal is struck.
“Vitthalbhai Radadia is the respected leader of our community. I had a detailed discussion with him on the (Patel quota) issue. I will accept the compromise formula if it is for the benefit of my community,” said Hardik, who was taken out of the jail for production in court in Visnagar.
Radadia and Hardik held a detailed discussion related to issues raised by the ‘Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti’ (PAAS) leading the agitation for reservation for Patels under OBC category.
“Anandiben Patel (Gujarat chief minister) had asked me to meet Hardik on behalf of the state government to find out a possible solution to the ongoing Patel quota agitation,” Radadia told reporters.
He met Hardik inside the jail for over an hour. “I had a very detailed discussion with Hardik on all the issues raised by his Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti. I will carry his message to the chief minister and I hope a solution to the problem will be soon arrived at,” Radadia said. The MP said if a compromise is reached between the Patel quota agitators and government, all cases slapped against the members of Patel community, including that of sedition against Hardik and others, will be withdrawn.
The cases were registered in the wake of large scale violence last year during the Patel quota agitation in the state.
Radadia said his community is hopeful that government will find out some way to provide the reservation benefits to Patels.
“If Haryana Government can fulfil the demands of Jat community for reservation after five days of agitation, Central government and state (Gujarat) governments should also do something for the Patel community,” he said.
Earlier, a committee comprising leaders of Patel community was formed headed by Jairam Vansjaliya to discuss the quota demand. Patels have been agitating for the last six months for their demand seeking reservation under OBC category in government jobs and education.
Hardik recently resorted to hunger strike in the jail on the reservation issue. Three of his close aides – Ketan Patel, Chirag Patel and Dinesh Bambhaniya – who are also behind bars in sedition case, had last week written a letter to the Chief Minister expressing their willingness to hold talks.
Following the violent Patel quota agitation, 457 FIRs related to arson, assault and rioting were filed across Gujarat between July 7 and December 3 last year, according to police.
Hardik came into limelight with his August 25 mega rally which was followed by violence across Gujarat in which ten people were killed.