The demand of reservation for his Patidar community that has traditionally been BJP supporters only to turn against it. The relations soured further when police used force against the community members demanding reservation, in which 14 lives were lost. But the leader of Patidar community, Hardik Patel, has now created confusion among his supporters by making a statement on Friday.
At a press conference on Friday, Hardik Patel said, “Muddo BJP ne haravano che, anamat no nathi (The agenda is to defeat the BJP, and not reservation).
The statement has a lot of political and social relevance, especially as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been talking about the ulterior and personal motives with which the Patidar leader has been pursuing the reservation issue. The statement is also a warning sign for the umpteen number of Patidar youth who have blindly followed Hardik throughout the reservation agitation. Now that Hardik has openly labeled the struggle of the millions as the fight against the BJP, the focus is drawn away from the main point of getting Patidars their “right to reservation”.
The statement by Hardik now seriously raises questions about the credibility of Hardik’s promises and intentions which he has all along been talking about. But the agenda on the basis of which the community supported Hardik is now sidelined by him and it may lead to serious repercussions from his enraged supporters. Political hawks in the BJP would also draw daggers to draw blood, now that the first blood has already been drawn by Hardik himself.
The main question also is, what about the death of the 14 Patidars which took place during the protests for demanding reservation? What about those who got arrested and remained behind the bars, those who funded PAAS and supported it financially and also those who set aside their work for the cause, which somehow now does not seem to Hardik’s priority.
During his interaction with the supporters and the media, Hardik stated that reservation is not an issue as there was nothing in the Constitution that prevented people from getting reservation. “I have studied the constitution for seven days and have not found anything which says over 50% reservation can’t be given,” claimed Hardik.
He clarified that he was not going to join any party even as he is now clearly being seen as fitting Congress in his scheme of things.
On being questioned that whether he felt the Congress had the intention to give reservation, his reply was, “If they did not have the intention, they would not have discussed at length the possibilities that can be explored. They met me at 12 in the night, we discussed the matter for three hours. If they did not have the intention they would not have talked at length.”
Hardik’s latest comments indicate that he is not sure of his agenda for the coming days and his intention also seem to be blurred.
Gujarat’s CM Vijay Rupani commented on Hardik’s stance, saying, “The quota agitation leader Hardik Patel needs to clear his stand on the demand for OBC reservation for the community”. Rupani wants to know what has transpired between Hardik and the Congress because the latter is yet to openly promise reservation to Patidars under the OBC status.
Hardik’s words are somewhere a complete turnaround from his earlier statements and this could lead to the Patidar community snatching back their support from Hardik and once again side with their age-old ‘ally’ BJP.