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Gujarat Govt Says Will Explore Possibility of Reservation for Patidars

After a meeting with six leading Patidar organisations, including the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) headed by Hardik Patel, the government also announced that it will set up an inquiry committee to investigate alleged excesses against Patidars by the police during the reservation stir.

Meghdoot Sharon | CNN-News18

Updated:September 26, 2017, 8:04 PM IST
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Gujarat Govt Says Will Explore Possibility of Reservation for Patidars
Members of the Patel community throw stones towards police during a protest rally in Ahmedabad on September 19, 2015. Thousands of the community members on Saturday protested against the detention of Hardik Patel, who is leading the movement to demand reservation benefits for their community, local media reported. (REUTERS/Amit Dave)
Ahmedabad: Months before Gujarat goes to polls, the BJP-led government in the state on Tuesday announced the formation of a commission to explore the possibility of reservation for those belonging to non-reserved categories. Though, moments later, Hardik Patel, the supposed face of the Patidar movement in Gujarat, said: "Meeting was a farce", with no outcome.

The government also said that it will consider withdrawing cases filed against Patidars in the wake of the statewide violent protests that erupted in 2015.

After a meeting with six leading Patidar organisations, including the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) headed by Hardik Patel, the government also announced that it will set up an inquiry committee to investigate alleged excesses against Patidars by the police during the reservation stir.

PAAS leader Hardik Patel said that the state government was attempting to divide the Patidar community and the agitation will continue until the demand for reservation were met. "There has been no favorable outcome of today's meeting. The state government did not give us any assurance on the reservation for Patidars. We will wait for the state government to set up the commission and take necessary action, but until then, the agitation will continue," Hardik Patel said, after the meeting.

The government's outreach to the Patel community at this juncture is being seen as a measure to keep its faith intact in the ruling party.

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who is heading the deliberations on behalf of the Government of Gujarat, said, "The state government scheme to address all the issues raised by the party 10 as far as reservation is concerned we will set up a Commission to explore the possibility of reservation to those who are not under reservation." He added that two crucial demands of withdrawing cases against Patidar and inquiring into alleged excesses against members of the Patidar community have been addressed by the state government.

Over the past two decades, the Patidar community has emerged as a strong vote bank for the Bharatiya Janata Party. However, this support has eroded to some extent after the state government's handling of the Patidar reservation agitation. Twelve Patidar youth lost their lives in police firing during the agitation that lasted several months beginning mid-2015.

Meanwhile, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, who is on a road-tour in Saurashtra as part of his Navsarjan Yatra, raked up the Patidar agitation issue, saying, "To the Patidar community, I am saying this. The BJP showered bullets on Patidar youth. This is not the way the Congress works. Our method is that of love."
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