The leader of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), Hardik Patel, had declared some days back that PAAS will hold a big rally in Mansa in Gandhinagar district on November 18, and clarify its stand on the controversial CD that was in circulation for some time. However, the local administration decided to not give approval to the rally — ‘Adhikar Sabha’.

Virendra Yadav, District Superintendent of Police said the main reason for denying the permission was the location chosen for the rally as it was along the main road, which would have led to massive traffic problems. “It is already very congested area and hence, it was not advisable to conduct the rally in that area. If they can suggest another location for the function, it may be considered,” he said.

The DSP further said that “if they carry on with the programme without permission, legal action will be initiated against them”. However, PAAS leaders are adamant to go ahead with the function as planned and have challenged the administration and the BJP to face the consequences if their supporters are troubled by the police.

Alpesh Kathiriya, PAAS convener and spokesperson said, “They had given us permission and then withdrew it. We had applied well in advance. The function will be held.”

It is noteworthy that PAAS gives a lot of importance to its meeting in Mansa as it is also the hometown of BJP President Amit Shah and the choice of the city by Hardik Patel was to showcase his hold on the Patidar Community in Shah’s own backyard, a signal which could create a strong political statement.

Meanwhile, the Patidar vote bank also seems to be splitting into smaller groups with some siding with BJP leaders, thus reducing PAAS’s hold over the community they are said to be leading.

A splinter Patidar group – Patidar Sankalan Samiti (PSS) – has decided to support Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel’s candidature from Mehsana, the epicenter of Patidar agitation and plans to organise rallies and public meetings to support BJP in the constituency. Narendra Patel, Vice-President of PSS has been supportive of the BJP and says that there is no specific reason for making a choice.