Hardik Patel, who brought life in several parts of Gujarat to a standstill with his Kranti rally in Ahmedabad demanding reservation for Patel community under OBC quota in the state, has now planned to take his agitation across the nation.
"On August 25, I had said that our numbers in the country amount to 27 crore, who are dispersed across states. The entire 27 crore Patel community has to be brought together, and this movement will be taken across the country, wherever there are Patels," The Indian Express quoted Hardik as saying.
In the first, the Patidars will hold a mega rally in Madhya Pradesh on Monday, after which they will take forward their agitation to Lucknow, convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) Hardik Patel said on Sunday in Delhi.
"We are thinking of arranging a maha rally in Lucknow soon. We will also call Patels from across the country to Jantar Mantar. The movement will be taken to at least 12 states. Tomorrow, a maha rally has been organised in Madhya Pradesh against the manner in which the Gujarat Police entered homes and beat up people," he said.
The 22-year-old is also planning to take his movement to the national capital, which he said would continue for a year or so.
"The purpose of coming to Delhi today is that the Gujjar community, our brothers, arranged a meeting and called us. Soon, in Delhi too, our people will stand united and take the movement forward. Our movement in Gujarat will continue for one or two years, as it's not a 100-metre race but a marathon. In the meanwhile, if we require muscle power from Delhi, they will support us, so that when necessary, we can get the highways blocked," Hardik added.
He said that his demands for Patidars is entirely based on the present status of the community and because "the system today is hollow".
"We are simply fighting for our rights, which should be given to us. People say our community is prosperous, but only 5 or 10 per cent of the community is well off," Hardik said.
Justifying his demand for reservation, Hardik said there are underprivileged members in every community thus they are all entitled to reservation. He said that he is demanding reservation for only 85% people of his community.
"The reservation system was put forward by political parties as an election plank. Because of this, the country has gone back 60 years. If you have to give reservation, give it to everyone... The poor of every community should be given reservation. Right now, our movement is limited to fighting for quota for the 85 per cent in our community who are poor," Hardik said.
His movement in Gujarat on 25 August resulted in rioting, forcing the state to call in Army to keep vigil of the situation. Central Reserve Police Force, State Reserve Police Force, BSF and Rapid Action Force were deployed across several parts of the state, including Surat, Ahmedabad and Mehsana. Situation was reported calm in the state on Sunday.