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.”
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.