As BJP govt moves to pacify Patidars ahead of Gujarat Assembly polls, Hardik Patel vows to continue quota agitationPatidar leader Hardik Patel said their protest would continue as there was no discussion on the reservation issue with the government.
Even as the Gujarat government today green-lit most of the demands of Patidar leader Hardik Patel, the latter said their protest would continue as there was no discussion on the vexed reservation issue in the meeting with the government here.
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel chaired the meeting with leaders of the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) and Sardar Patel Group (SPG), two bodies at the forefront of quota agitation, and others, here.
PAAS members shouted anti-BJP slogans after the meeting.
Hardik Patel termed the meeting as "positive", but said the agitation will continue as the government did not discuss their main demand for reservation for the Patidar (Patel) community in jobs and educational institutions.
Speaking to media after the meeting, Nitin Patel said the government will form a commission to provide benefits to members of the unreserved category.
The government has also agreed to other demands, including withdrawal of police cases against members of the Patidar community after the 2015 quota agitation, and compensation and jobs to the family members of those who were killed during the agitation, he said.
"We have decided to form a commission for unreserved category which will look into education, jobs as well as ways to provide business and education loans to the members of this category. Leaders of Patidar community including Hardik Patel have welcomed this," Nitin Patel said.
"The commission will get approval in the cabinet meeting tomorrow, he said.
"In three-four days we will give a list of benefits the commission will provide to members of unreserved category," he said. "We have given assurance that we are ready to withdraw all remaining cases," he added.
"We will offer them whatever financial assistance decided by the community leaders. Also, we will provide jobs to the nearest kin of the affected family members in cooperative bodies," he said.
But Hardik Patel termed the meeting as "positive but not result-oriented."
"The discussion was positive but not result-oriented. All demands were discussed point by point. We welcome the decisions taken, but the fight for our main demand, which is reservations, will continue," he said after the meeting.
"We welcome the decision to provide jobs and financial assistance to affected Patidar members, and to form a commission and withdraw cases against community members," he said, adding that he is not happy with the government giving the responsibility to offer compensation to the members of the community to Patidar religious institutions.
"There was no discussion regarding reservation. This is our main demand that we should be provided reservation through OBC route or by including us in (the constitution's) 9th schedule," he added.
Nitin Patel's press conference was disrupted for a brief period when some PAAS members started shouting "BJP haai haai". Patel said that some Patidar members are "politically motivated."
"I would like to say that those who continue to oppose us are not concerned with the problems of the community, but are only politically motivated," he said.
"Until the elections are held, those who are inspired by the Congress are working for the benefit of Congress and will continue to ensure that the opposition party remains afloat in Gujarat using the Patidar community," he said.
Patidar leaders representing various educational, social and religious institutions also attended the meeting.
The BJP government has held several meetings with Patidar leaders in the last two years. Today's meeting assumes importance as the state goes to the election in a couple of months.