Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel on Wednesday ended his hunger strike after 19 days by drinking coconut water given by three community leaders.
The 25-year-old has been on a ‘fast-unto-death’ since August 25 demanding debt waiver for farmers, quotas for Patel community and release of his aide Alpesh Kathiriya, who is behind bars on charges of sedition.
“This is only out of respect for you elders. To show everyone that we are all united.
“The belief is that if we live, we shall fight and if we fight, we shall live,” Hardik said after breaking his fast.
Hardik may not have been able to get the Gujarat government to accede to any of his demand but the fact that he was able to get leaders of different Patel community on one platform could change the political dynamics in the state. “Today, we have been able to bridge the deep gorge between all the key community institutions,” Hardik said.
The event was attended by socio-religious bodies Khodaldham and Umiyadham, the highest religious places of Leuva and Kadva Patidars in Gujarat. “If Hardik is there, we would have everything but if he is not there, there would be nothing,” Naresh Patel, leader of Khodaldham, said.
Hardik said that he would continue with his agitation. “If one speaks, one is dubbed as anti-national. But if one does not speak, one is dubbed as mute. I think it is better to be called an anti-national,” he said.
Later addressing reporters, Hardik dubbed the BJP-rule in the state akin to British rule and said that he would take his agitation and fast to Delhi.
“I will travel across 12,000 villages of Gujarat in coming months on the issue of farmers and the day we land in Gandhinagar, we would have ousted this government.
“The fight against the BJP would be on the lines of JP and Lohia. I am calling on all the four crore farmers of the state to begin lok kranti as the fight is no more about debt waiver or reservations but to save democracy. The Gujarat of Gandhi and Sardar is fast becoming a state that is seeing the destruction of democratic ideals under Narendra Modi and Amit Shah’s BJP,” Hardik said.