Gujarat govt invites Patels to talk on reservation

Agitating group plans rally on reservation on August 25

Gujarat govt invites Patels to talk on reservation

Nitin Patel, cabinet minister and chairman of the seven-member ministerial panel set up by the Anandiben Patel government, on Saturday extended an invite to leaders of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) and Sardar Patel Group (SPG) for talks on reservation.

Agitating Patels in the state are planning a mega rally on the issue of reservation in Ahmedabad on August 25.

Six members of PAAS, including the 22-year-old Hardik Patel, were invited by the government for talks at Nitin Patel’s residence on Saturday evening. However, PAAS failed to turn up for the talks stating that they would require time for discussions within their organisation before they can commit to talks. They are now expected to meet the government nominees either on Sunday or Monday.

The offer to meet comes a day after the state government was successful in convincing agitating Patels to shift the venue of their mega rally in Ahmedabad from Sabarmati River Front. Both, the government and Patels were at an impasse over zeroing in on the venue for the rally. Patels claimed that they expect over two million people to gather for rally and wanted Sabarmati River Front to be the venue. The state on its part wanted Patels to have a rally outside the city limits of Ahmedabad, so as not to cause any inconvenience to citizens of Ahmedabad.

Meanwhile, other communities as Brahmins and OBCs have begun raising voices over their share of reservation. While Brahmins held a rally in Visnagar in North Gujarat, OBCs have planned a rally to counter Patel rally on Sunday, stating that their interests must be kept in mind by the government while heeding to Patels. They say that Patels had opposed reservation policy per se in 1981 and 1985 but are now asking for OBC status, to which they are not favourable.

The Patels on their part held smaller rallies across the state and were huddled in meetings throughout the day to prepare for the mega rally and seeking reservation. Sources in the government say that the Anandiben Patel government wants the minimise the probable damage that could arise out of the rally. “If rally is cancelled, it would be a huge win for Anandiben,” sources added.

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