Face of the Patidar agitation in Gujarat, Hardik Patel, began indefinite hunger strike in Surat Jail on Friday even as nearly 300 Patidars from across the state have sat on fast in solidarity with the leader.
The developments are important considering that a section of Patel leaders are holding talks with the state government to work out a formula for winding up a nearly year-long agitation. Patels have been demanding reservation under OBC category.
Lalji Patel of the Sardar Patel Group said that a compromise could be reached only if their demands were met. One of the key demands has been reservation for the Patels.
According to sources, Hardik has said that he would continue his hunger strike till the Patels get reservation. Hardik has been behind the bars on the charges of sedation.
The police has withdrawn "soft" cases on Patels but there is uncertainty over Hardikâ€™s fate. Recently, parents of his close aides like Chirag and Ketan (both Patels) met government representatives. The move was seen as a bid to reach a compromise.
In Ahmedabad, spokesperson of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, Varun Patel lambasted the opposition Congress on Friday. He said it was strange that Congress leaders went in support of students arrested in New Delhi, but Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi had not come to stand by the Patels in Gujarat.
He warned the Congress to stop extracting political mileage out of the Patel agitation and asked the party to make its stand clear. He said that it was because of the Patel agitation that the Congress had performed well in the recent elections to local self government bodies.