Hardik says no plans to join Shiv Sena

Surat: Gujarat Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Thursday reiterated that he had not joined any political party and would prefer to remain the face of the Patel community’s agitation for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions under the OBC quota.

He said this referring to the news reports quoting Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai that Patel would be the face of Shiv Sena campaign in Gujarat assembly elections to be held later this year.

“I had gone to visit ‘Matoshree’ (residence of the Thackerays) in response to the invitation I was extended. I am too young to contest elections and, in any case, my only aim is to get benefit of reservation for my community,” Hardik, 23, told reporters here.

He clarified he has no plans to join the Shiv Sena.

He was in Surat to mark attendance at the Crime Branch in keeping with his bail conditions in the sedition cases against him.

Patel was also in town to meet the injured member of his Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) Vijay Mangukia, who was beaten up for throwing ink at newly appointed Bharatiya Janata Party Yuva Manch (BJYM) leader Rutvij Patel recently.

Rutvij Patel was holding a road show in Surat about 10 days ago as a show of strength when he was showered with eggs, tomatoes, water pouches, itching powder and ink by unidentified miscreants.

Mangukia, who allegedly threw ink at him, was caught by BJYM workers and reportedly thrashed by them.

The PAAS had threatened to lay a siege to the police station on Thursday to exert pressure on the local police to arrest the NJP youth wing volunteers. The police said two persons have already been arrested in the case.