Hardik Patel begins ‘indefinite’ fast at his residence, Police detain over 150 supporters on way to fast venue, BJP says it’s Congress directed programme

Ahmedabad: After permission to hold ‘indefinite’ fast at Nikol based ground in Ahmedabad and Satyagraha ground in Gandhinagar denied by administration, Congress aide and caste quota agitation leader Hardik Patel has started fast at his farm-house style residence in Green Woods area near Vaishnodevi circle off SG highway. Hardik’s fast agitation started at 3.00 pm at his rented residence ‘Chhatrapati Niwas’ in presence of his supporters including Gita Patel who sought Congress ticket to contest from Ahmedabad last year and Manoj Panara, another Congress ticket seeker from Morbi. Both arrived at Hardik’s residence last night and released a video message on facebook conveying that their journey was smooth and police had not stopped them anywhere, so other should also come fearlessly.

Hardik has announced fast agitation over demands such as quota to Patidar community in education and jobs and total farm debt waiver. Hardik’s fast agitation is largely seen as build up ahead of Lok Sabha elections next year to benefit Congress party. At least three Congress MLAs today morning reached Hardik’s house. They include MLAs from Dhoraji and Tankara.

Meanwhile Hardik claimed that police was stopping and detaining his supporters who were on way to his fast venue from all over Gujarat. Some of such incidents have come to light from various areas of the state including places in Saurashtra, Surat and North Gujarat. Police was also seen noting down names, and vehicle numbers of those going to attend Hardik’s fast.

In related development, buses to quota-agitation prone areas in Surat are withdrawn today considering the previous incidents of torching of buses and stone pelting.

In another move, State Intelligence Bureau head IPS Brahmbhatt refuted Hardik’s claim that 16,000 supporters were detained across the State. Brahmbhatt said only 158 are detained. Brahmbatt said false messages are being spread on social media that 16,000 PASS cadres are detained by police in order to provoke the people.

ADGP of Intelligence Bureau, R B Brahmbhatt said, ‘only 158 detentions of people who were trying to defy the section 144 prohibitory orders to either join Hardik in Ahmedabad or doing demonstration elsewhere in the state have been done. As after the August 25, 2015 rally of PAAS in GMDC ground in Ahmedabad, a major law and order situation was created, large scale damage to public and private property was done and also in the wake of torching and damaging of buses in Surat after the arrests of Hardik and his supporters to prevent the unlawful symbolic fast event of PAAS on August 19 last, the permission to hold a fast even at a public place has been denied.

He also said that police was taking all precautions and preventive steps to ensure the law and order in the state.

In reaction to this, Hardik aide Manoj Panara said, police was standing at toll booths on highway to stop buses full of supporters on way to fast agitation venue.

When asked by media persons, State BJP chief Jitu Vaghani said, in name of social agitation, Congress is trying to disturb peace in Gujarat.

BJP leader Kishor Kanani from Surat said Hardik is working as per Congress’s plan and ideas. People of Gujarat and Patidars know it very well that Hardik Patel is doing this on Congress’s direction. Hardik has nothing to do with reservation. His agenda is to support Congress.

Leader of opposition and Congress MLA Paresh Dhanani in his tweet raised question over government’s approach against Hardik’s fast. He tweeted:

It is learnt that over two dozen Congress MLAs are planning to meet Governor OP Kohli on Monday to make representation in support of Hardik’s fast agitation.

Hardik has put up photographs of Sardar Patel, Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Goddess Uma and Khodal on stage along with a wooden plough.

Among those, first to visit Hardik Patel at his fast venue in his residence were some Muslim leaders of city Congress. Police didn’t allow Juhapura Congress councillor Hajibhai Sheikh, Habibbhai and others to go beyond the gate of Green Woods Resort, but allowed Congress’s Muslim face in Ahmedabad and former leader of opposition in AMC Badruddin Sheikh and one more to walk to Hardik’s fast venue. Sheikh sat with Hardik on the stage and extended him support from Muslim community.

Deputy CM Nitin Patel today said that PAAS leader Hardik Patel was doing fast and other agitations again on the instructions of Congress party from backdoor in the wake of next Loksabha election.

Talking to newsmen here the DyCM said, ‘the whole thing is being carried out on the instructions of Congress with next LS polls in mind. During the last assembly elections also the party keeping behind the issues of national importance like terrorism tried to create division in the society on caste basis by backing Hardik. But the people of Gujarat who had rejected it last time around, were intelligent enough to understand these ploys and reject them again.’

To a query regarding Hardik’s proposed fast from today, Nitin Patel said that many people were raking up unnecessary issues which affects the peace and security in Gujarat. They take the name of Sardar Patel who on the contrary had joint the whole country and various communities to make one nation.

He said that the BJP government in the state has done whatever was possible for the economically weaker sections of the non-reserved categories including Mukhyamantri Yuva Swavlamban Yojna and setting up of commission for such castes and floating schemes for benefit of students from this year itself.

‘The government is also doing all it should to maintain the law and order and peace in the state but some people were trying to create a divide in the society for their own benefit and on the backing of Congress with an eye on the elections. They have been rejected earlier and will be rejected now by the people which is aware of their tactics,’ he said.

Deputy CM Nitin Patel in reply to a question by media persons at Kevadiya Colony in Central Gujarat said that PAAS leader Hardik Patel was doing fast and other agitations again on the instructions of Congress party from backdoor in the wake of next Loksabha election.

The DyCM said, ‘the whole thing is being carried out on the instructions of Congress with next LS polls in mind. During the last assembly elections also the party keeping behind the issues of national importance like terrorism tried to create division in the society on caste basis by backing Hardik. But the people of Gujarat who had rejected it last time around, were intelligent enough to understand these ploys and reject them again.’

To a query regarding Hardik’s proposed fast from today, Nitin Patel said that many people were raking up unnecessary issues which affects the peace and security in Gujarat. They take the name of Sardar Patel who on the contrary had joint the whole country and various communities to make one nation.

He said that the BJP government in the state has done whatever was possible for the economically weaker sections of the non-reserved categories including Mukhyamantri Yuva Swavlamban Yojna and setting up of commission for such castes and floating schemes for benefit of students from this year itself.

‘The government is also doing all it should to maintain the law and order and peace in the state but some people were trying to create a divide in the society for their own benefit and on the backing of Congress with an eye on the elections. They have been rejected earlier and will be rejected now by the people which is aware of their tactics,’ he said.

It is commonly agreeable fact that Hardik has lost support that he enjoyed in year 2015 in initial days of agitation. His fast drama is evoking not much response among common people at large at present. At the same time, people are concerned about whether this would once again damage the law and order situation in some Patel populated areas. Hardik’s this fast agitation has impression of a manufactured event in ‘rebel without cause’ style. There’s no strong issue at present that be capitalized through an agitation. Like Hardik Patel, Patidar quota issue too has quite lost its shine. However, as soon as you switch on Gujarati news channels – main advertising revenue source of which is the Government of Gujarat – you find screen occupied by Hardik Patel and his agitation. So this keeps generating noise and lifting passions in some sections marginally. On losing support and interest among people(but not among Gujarati news media) Hardik argues that if he has actually lost support, why permission to hold fast in large ground has not been granted. He also argues that original quota agitation started with small rallies and became huge in latter stage, so rebuilding the agitation would be same experience.

DeshGujarat

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