Hardik Patel rules out negotiations, says not against quota

Hardik Patel rules out negotiations, says not against quota

Hardik Patel, who has galvanised the dominant Patel community in Gujarat on the reservation demand,  says his sole objective is the inclusion of Patel community in the OBC category and not the abolition of the quota system but ruled out negotiations on the issue.

The 22-year-old B.Com. graduate, who had brought Ahmedabad to a standstill On Aug 25 with a massive show of support that took a violent turn here and elsewhere in the state, also says the agitation will be intensified till success is achieved.

"Our sole objective is the inclusion of Patel community in the OBC (Other Backward Classes) category. We will not relent till our demand is fulfilled," Patel told PTI in an interview.

"We do not want reservation system to be abolished as it is being talked. We just want OBC quota for Patels," he said when asked about reports quoting him as saying that if Patels are not included the OBC category there should be total removal of the reservation system.

"I am heading towards Delhi to meet the leaders of the Gurjar agitation to take their help to intensify our agitation in Gujarat," Patel said.

To a query whether he  wants to take the quota agitation to the national level, Patel said, "This is too early to make any statement. However, time will tell. Let us see."

Patel or Patidars are basically a farming community in Gujarat which is a numerically strong  group which has backed the ruling BJP in the state for the last 25 years.

He has warned the BJP that lotus would not bloom in the next Assembly elections if their demand is not met.

Patel, who has emerged as a young popular leader in the Patel community in a short time, remained evasive to a question whether he would join politics.

He said that he has not decided on the issue and his focus is entirely on the Patel quota agitation now.

Patel's detention after the mega rally he organised for reservation led to widespread violence in the state in which nine people lost their lives. Public properties worth crore of rupees was destroyed and army was called in to control the situation.

"There is no point in negotiation at this time (after the violence). The state government and the central government are responsible for the situation that has been created in Gujarat," he said.

"We have demanded that state government should pay Rs 35 lakh compensation to relatives of all those who have died in the incidents and suspend all policemen who have opened fire on our people," he said.

"If they fail to do that then we will intensify our agitation by asking our community members not to sent milk and vegetables to cities. We are also thinking of many other steps by which we can intensify our agitation," he said.

"We are not against OBC's or any other caste, we just want our right to be included in the OBC category," Hardik said on a question of his agitation fuelling divide between castes in the state.

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