Quota stir: Hardik to organise “reverse” Dandi march

The Patel quota movement spearhead Hardik Patel will organise a “reverse” Dandi march from Dandi to Ahmedabad later this week in a bid to scale up the agitation in its second phase.

The Dandi March led by Mahatma Gandhi in 1930 was an important part of independence movement and Hardik’s move to choose that location for strengthening his agitation is viewed as a clever strategy to send the message across various stake-holders.

“Mahatma Gandhi did Dandi March on this route, starting from Sabarmati in Ahmedabad till Dandi in south Gujarat. Walking on this 350-km route, we will hold our own ‘Patidar Anamat Kooch’,” Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) core committee member Dinesh Patel said.

Dinesh was with Hardik in the city today to launch the next round of agitation to press for reservation to Patel community under OBC quota.

“The march will be organised on the same route where Dandi March was held. However, our march will be in the reverse direction. Instead of going to Dandi from Ahmedabad, we will start our march from Dandi and arrive at Ahmedabad. As per our tentative schedule, it will be organised on either September 5 or 6,” Dinesh said.

Hardik and other PAAS leaders held marathon meetings with local Patel leaders, student groups and Patel businessmen here, as part of the second phase of their agitation.

“Hardik also went to Lajpore jail near the city and met around 40 Patel youths who were lodged there by police in false cases during the violence. Hardik also met an injured woman at a hospital. She was hit by a teargas shell during violence,” Dinesh said.

The first round of quota agitation churned the political climate in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when Hardik held a massive rally in Ahmedabad on August 25. The violence that followed the brief detention of Hardik in many parts of the state thereon claimed 10 lives.

Dinesh said the second round of agitation includes a Gandhigiri-style programme to make all Patel community MLAs clarify their stand on reservation for the community under OBC quota.

“In coming days, Hardik will kickstart this drive from Ahmedabad. He will give a rose to each Patel MLA of city and politely ask him/her to make his stand (on reservation issue) clear in public. We want to know who are with us,” he said, adding that PAAS leaders and workers will also give roses to Patel MLAs across Gujarat.

“We will carry out this programme in a peaceful manner,” he added.

There are over 35 MLAs belonging to Patel community in the state, out of total 182.