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Patels do not consider themselves ‘neechli jaat’: ex-Gujarat CM Madhavsinh Solanki

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: Four-time chief minister of Gujarat, veteran Congressman Madhavsinh Solanki, said that Patels have never considered them as a neechli jaat (lower caste) and that the entire Patidar agitation over OBC status and reservation will soon wane out “because truth has no role in it.”

Madhavsinh Solanki Photo credit: indianexpress.com
Madhavsinh Solanki
Photo credit: indianexpress.com

Solanki came to power due to the KHAM (Kshatriya, Harijan, Adivasi, Muslim) coalition he made in the 1980s, thereby alienating the upper castes in the state.

In an article in The Indian Express Solanki said that the ongoing turmoil for OBC status lacked legal sanctity. “Our action (reservation for OBC) was based on provisions of the Constitution of India which provides reservation for backward classes. I only went by the Constitution,” he added.

When asked to comment on the Patidar upheaval in Gujarat, Solanki said: “Those castes who have got reservation in education and government jobs are getting college admissions and jobs faster than others. The upper castes are seeing how OBC, Dalits and tribals are sharing the pie which was exclusively theirs before reservation. This has created jealousy. The upper castes are asking, why are they taking away what was owned by us.”

The upper castes in Gujarat (Patels, Brahmins and Baniyas) constitute 25 per cent of the population of Gujarat, and they have a problem with the other 75 per cent, Solanki said.

“Patels have never asked for reservation before. To get reservation, one has to apply as a ‘lower caste’. They have never considered themselves neechli jaat,” he added.

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New caste group surfaces to counter Patels in Gujarat

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Ahmedabad: To counter liquor addiction in dry Gujarat, a group of OBCs, SCs and STs  held a show of strength under the banner of OSS Ekta Manch, telling the Gujarat government that it had not done enough for socially and economically backward people caught under the whip of illicit liquor and deprivation.

Starting as a trickle, the Vyasan Mukti rally grew into a huge gathering at the sprawling GMDC Grounds at here, with its spearhead Alpesh Thakore, who is his in 30s, claiming it was not a political show but one that aimed at bringing together deprived sections of Gujarat on a single platform for their rights.

“This is a rally to fight addiction indeed, but also for empowerment and unity of people neglected in Gujarat. Though dispersed without a support structure, the OBCs are aggressive here, and if the Thakore community opens a third eye, it could be lethal,” said Thakore, whose Thakore Ekta Sena has been quietly working in rural Gujarat for years.

Interestingly, Chief Minister Anandiben Patel wished well to the rally, as did Hardik Patel, the convenor of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti which is demanding reservation for high caste Patels in jobs and education under the OBC category.

The rally had a conglomeration of other backward classes with a majority of Thakore and Kshatriya communities joined by Dalits and tribals.

“We are not with the BJP or the Congress, but wish progress for the OBCs,” declared Thakore, a few months after a similar claim by Hardik Patel, whose father Bharat Patel is a BJP worker.

In his speech that lasted about half an hour, Thakore read out a pledge for the audience to fight addiction and come together to create a social and economic muscle that no one can ignore – like successive rulers have so far have.

“Social space, strong health and educational growth will be the result of de-addiction. If we have this no political party in Gujarat can give us the short shrift that we have been getting,” he said.

“This is the clarion call to you and this is my message to the political class in Gujarat,” he said to widespread applause.

Coming exactly four months after a massive caste rally at the same location by the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti demanding reservation for high caste Patels in jobs and education under the OBC category disrupted the political firmament, the OSS Ekta Manch gave out a strong message that they also intend to become a force in state politics.

With Patel and now Thakore, a new socio-political order is seen to be emerging in Gujarat with voices that political parties would ignore at their peril.

Political analysts like Vidyut Joshi and Achyut Yagnik say the major reason for this is that neither Patel nor Thakore are believed to have personal political ambitions, and so their support bases see them as genuine.

The new grouping can emerge as the counter to the Patel community, the youth of which has got together under the leadership of Patel, 23, over the past months – and sent the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party into a panic.

After nearly three decades, the BJP faced an unexpected debacle in the local self-government bodies, with a major role in this outcome of the Patel community, which had otherwise been the backbone of the party’s political strength in the state.(IANS)

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Hardik Patel files fresh bail applications

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Ahmedabad: Hardik Patel, leader of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) filed fresh bail applications in Gujarat courts on Saturday against his two cases for sedition by the state police.

Hardik Patel, who has been running an agitation demanding reservation for high caste Patels in jobs and education under the Other Backward Class (OBC) category for last four months, moved the court of Additional Sessions Judge NG Dave through his lawyer Rafiq Lokhandwala in Ahmedabad.

The agitation for reservation cannot be said to be unlawful in any manner, the bail application states.

His lawyer contends that the sedition charge running into 2,700 pages is false, frivolous, fabricated and politically motivated to suppress the agitation.

Patel has filed another application in Surat, where he faces a sedition case with a chargesheet of 370 pages, in the court of Principal Sessions Judge Gita Gopi.

Making a similar contention as in Ahmedabad, his lawyer Yashwantsinh Vala has argued in Surat that Patel was being framed for political motives.

Hardik Patel lodged  the application in Lajpore jail in Surat district.

Both the applications will come up for hearing shortly.

Hardik Patel and five others are charged under Sections 124 (A) for sedition, 121 (A) for conspiracy to wage war against the government and 120 (b) for criminal conspiracy.(IANS)

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Gujarat HC judge removes objectionable remarks about quota

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Gandhinagar: Gujarat High Court judge, Justice JB Pardiwala, against whom Rajya Sabha MPs have submitted a motion of impeachment for his “unconstitutional” remarks on reservation, removed his allegedly objectionable remarks

Justice Pardiwala had made the remarks while refusing to remove the sedition charges against Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti convener Hardik Patel.

In an observation during the hearing, he had said: “If I am asked by anyone to name two things, which has destroyed this country or rather, has not allowed the country, to progress in the right direction, then the same is – Reservation and Corruption. It is very shameful for any citizen of this country to ask for reservation after 65 years of independence. When our Constitution was framed, it was understood that the reservation would remain for a period of 10 years, but unfortunately, it has continued even after 65 years of independence. The biggest threats, today, for the country is corruption.”

“The countrymen should rise and fight against corruption at all levels, rather than shedding blood and indulging in violence for the reservation,” the judge said, “adding that the reservation has only played the role of an amoeboid monster sowing seeds of discord amongst the people.

His previous remarks had reflected his thoughts on this matter:

The importance of merit, in any society, cannot be understated. The merit stands for a positive goal and when looked at instrumentally, stands for ‘rewarding those actions that are considered good’. Then, this instrumental nature of merit that should be given importance – emphasizing on and rewarding merit is a means towards achieving what is regarded as good in the society. The parody of the situation is that India must be the only country wherein some of the citizens crave to be called backward.

However, he has now removed these remarks from the order. (IANS) (Picture Courtesy:www.dnaindia.com)