Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) was denied permission by the local authorities to hold a public meeting on Wednesday in Ring-Road area of Rajkot (West), the same venue where Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had held a meet on Tuesday. However, Hardik went ahead with the event and attracted considerable number of people.
Addressing the rally, Hardik said, “Attempts have been made to get his programme cancelled. Despite being denied permission to hold the event, a huge crowd has gathered here.”
In a veiled attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Hardik said, “Those who show the ‘victory’ sign with two fingers actually want to divide the society. Such people want a divide between the Dalits, Patidars, Rajputs, Brahmins, and have been doing so for 25 years. Had we understood their intentions earlier, the farmers would not be in a dire situation that they are in now, and the youth would not have been unemployed.”
Hardik openly challenged those in power to come and fight a straight battle as the Patidars also know how and when to attack when cornered. He said this fight was not of any single community, but of the six-crore people of Gujarat seeking to regain their self-esteem and rights.
Hardik raised the issue of inflation,saying, “How much do you pay for petrol and diesel today? How much does the cooking gas cost? What rate do you get for cotton? For how long do you get water and electricity each day? Show me the development in Gujarat except for the riverfront. Our future will not improve because of the riverfront, but only if we improve the condition of the poor. I do not know how to speak, nor do I want to impress you for vote.”
Taking on Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Hardik said: “The Chief Minister is from Rajkot, but show one work that speaks of development in the city. He is not the CM of the state, but a spokesman of BJP top brass.”
He said ‘vikas’ is “when the farmers will be able to construct ‘pucca’ houses using their own money, are able to educate their children and get their daughters married without taking loans”.
Hardik said “development is yet to take birth in Gujarat”. He asked the audience to vote against the BJP if they wanted the change to come. He appealed the Kadva Patidar and Leuva Patidars factions to stay united and not get swayed by the those planning to split their community and their vote for personal benefits.