Hardik Patel, the leader of the Patidar Patel community is ready for a fresh round of agitation from Surat.
The Patidar Patel community is demanding reservation in the OBC category. Violence sparked off across Gujarat after Hardik’s massive rally in Ahmedabad last week. 10 people including a policeman died in the violence which followed Hardik’s brief detention. Situation went out of control the Army and paramilitary forces had to be called in to several areas of Gujarat to contain the violence.
“We will start the agitation from Surat tomorrow. We will focus more on taluka and village level this time…. This time, the entire nation will have its eyes on our programme. We will walk on the path shown by Mahatma Gandhi,” said Hardik on Monday after he returned from Delhi.
In Delhi, Hardik met leaders of several communities including the Gujjars. He claims that many organisations have extended their support to the ongoing agitation.
“We are now getting support from entire India. Gujjars, Kurmis, Chaudharis and many others are with us. Our movement will further spread in other parts. In coming days, we have planned to hold a rally at Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh,” Hardik claimed.
According to him, the total population of Patels, Gujjars and Kurmis in India is about 27 crore.
“We have also planned to take signatures of all 27 crore of our members on an application demanding reservation and hand it over to the Prime Minister,” he said.
Ahead of the Surat agitation, Hardik blamed the Gujarat police and the state government for inciting violence. He lashed out at them for the crackdown on Patel leaders at the Ahmedabad rally on August 25.
According to the Patels, the police lathicharged on them when they were protesting peacefully and forcefully detained Hardik.
The 22-year-old Patel leader has been vocally backed by several political parties too. The Congress has said that the Patels should be given a special package that does not disturb the share of other communities which get reservation under the OBC category.
(With inputs from PTI)