Patel leader meets Gujarat CM on quota demand, praises EWS quota

Ahmedabad: Two days after his release on conditional bail, Sardar Patel Group (SPG) leader Lalji Patel on Monday called on Chief Minister Anandiben Patel regarding SPG’s demand for reservation for the Patels.

Lalji also commended the 10 per cent quota extended to the economically weaker sections among the non-reserved castes, as announced by the state government on May 1 in response to an agitation led by Hardik Patel’s Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti and the SPG in the last over 10 months.

He also met state ministers Vijay Rupani and Nitin Patel and pleaded with the Gujarat government to help release Patidar leaders still lodged in jails on various charges.

Lalji Patel, however, did not clarify if he had specifically requested the government for the release of Hardik Patel.

PAAS leader Hardik Patel is lodged in jail on sedition charge since October last. All his bail pleas in court are stonewalled by the state government on the pretext that it cannot put law and order in the state at risk with his release.

This despite the repeated assurance by Patel’s counsel that he will continue his quota stir in a peaceful manner and also that he will agree to stay away from Gujarat during his bail period if the court so directs.

Lalji Patel was released from jail on Saturday after he was granted conditional bail in a case related to violence during the ‘jail bharo’ campaign of the Patels, jointly organised by the SPG and PAAS in Mehsana on April 17.

Lalji first met Health Minister Nitin Patel, chairman of a seven-member team of ministers to resolve the quota issue, and Vijay Rupani, a cabinet minister and state Bharatiya Janata Party president, in Nitin Patel’s official chamber.

Lalji Patel said: “I met Nitinbhai and Vijaybhai and raised the issue of our 29-point charter of demands. I told them that the 10 per cent EWS quota ordinance issued on May 1 was beneficial for society.”

“Intended beneficiaries, including those from the Patidar community, have already started taking benefit of the new quota,” Patel claimed. He said the government had assured that it will move the Supreme Court, if needed, in the case.