Politics revolving around Patels in Gujarat has taken a new turn with quota agitation leader Hardik Patel being shifted to a hospital with deteriorating health parameters and the state government not succumbing to any pressure tactics.
The young leader has been on an indefinite fast for one fortnight now to press his demands for reservations for Patels in jobs and educational institutions and waiver of farm loans.
Though the BJP government in the state has refused to budge from its earlier position, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has formed a three-member ministerial committee to negotiate with the agitating Patel leaders.
A meeting of the ministerial committee comprising Kaushik Patel, Bhupendrasinh Chudasama and Pradipsinh Jadeja with leaders of six Patel organisations has remained inconclusive.
Leaders of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), which is spearheading the Patels’ stir for quotas, have claimed that Hardik continues to remain without any food and water even on the 14th day of his fast. But, doctors attending to Hardik have revealed that he is being fed intravenously to keep his health parameters within safe limits.
Ruling BJP-controlled social media and websites have, however, described Hardik’s week-long fast as a ‘farce’. Senior Patel community leaders and religious heads still owing allegiance to the BJP have tried to persuade Hardik to call off his agitation.
Hardik, who has reportedly lost 20 kg body weight in the two-week fast, remains adamant on his demands for the Patel community and the farmers reeling under debt burden.
Irked with the Opposition Congress supporting the Patels’ agitation, Energy Minister Saurabh Patel has dared the party to come out with a formula that can justify reservations for the influential Patel community when the Supreme Court has capped the quota limit at 50 per cent.