Guj CM says no to Patel reservation; community firm on holding

Ahmedabad: Gujarat government today virtually ruled out OBC quota for the Patel community, setting the stage for a confrontation with agitators ahead of a gathering called by them here on Tuesday even as members of OBC communities threatened to “uproot” the government if the Patels’ demand was met.

The government is at present holding a meeting with the representatives of Patel community to find a solution to the impasse.

Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel today cited the Constitution and Supreme Court judgements in a print and video message to the people of the state to say that “we cannot make any changes in the structure of reservations for SCs, STs and OBCs, nor can we give reservation beyond 50 per cent”.

“Various state governments at different points of time gave reservation by going against the constitution and Supreme Court judgements… We do not want to do that. This state government does not believe in making fake promises,” Patel said while appealing to the agitating members of the Patel community to shun the protests and “join the path of the state’s development”.

Her public message came just two days ahead of a mega gathering called by Patel community members here.

The chief minister asked the agitators to hold talks with the government instead of organising rallies which, she said, may harm the economy of the state.

Meanwhile, Patel community leader Hardik Patel said that their agitation will continue.

“Chief Minister has given her message today, but Patel community members will ignore that (message) and come in large numbers for the rally (on August 25),” he said.

Meanwhile, in a related development, thousands of members of OBC communities held a rally near Sabarmati Ashram against the agitation by Patels and threatened to “uproot” the government if it concedes to the reservation demands. The rally was attended by at least 10,000 members of different OBC communities.

“We strongly condemn the way in which Patels are pressuring the government to get reservation by threatening to uproot government in 2017. I want to warn this government that don’t take our patience for granted,” said Gujarat Kshatriya-Thakor Sena president, Alpesh Thakor.

“Patels are just 12 per cent while OBCs, SCs and STs are 78 per cent of state’s population. If Patels are given even one per cent reservation, this government may no longer remain in power this year itself, forget 2017,” he added.

The state government for its part has warned of stern action against those attending the rally on Tuesday who try to create law and order problems.