Denial of scholarship to sister turned Hardik Patel into a Patidar leader

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How denial of scholarship to sister turned Hardik Patel into a formidable Patidar leader

Prabhash K Dutta

Hardik Patel graduated from an Ahmedabad college with less than 50 per cent marks in 2013. Two years later, Hardik Patel was telling huge crowds across Gujarat that Patidars deserved reservation for their uplift.

Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel has emerged as the biggest challenge to the BJP government in Gujarat even though he maintains that he will not contest election.

The BJP has been trying to pacify him through back channels or weaken his organisation by winning over his close aides. Some of them have even joined the party ahead of Gujarat election. But, the ‘cash-for-membership’ allegation by Narendra Patel has embarrassed the BJP.

The Congress, on the other, has publicly offered Hardik Patel a ticket and urged him to join the party in order to strengthen its electoral fight against the ruling BJP. Though, Patels form only 12 per cent of Gujarat’s population, they are a dominant player in the state politics. This is why the BJP has been wary of Hardik Patel’s popularity.

WHERE DID HARDIK PATEL COME FROM?

Hardik Patel’s popularity seems spontaneous. Till the first half of 2015, Hardik Patel was an almost unheard character. He suddenly appeared on the national television screens with huge rallies across Gujarat fiercely demanding reservation for Patel-Patidars.

Hardik Patel spent his childhood in rural Ahmedabad. Before turning to caste-based activism, Hardik Patel helped his father run a small submersible water pump business at Viramgam in Ahmedabad. Reports suggest that he graduated from Ahmedabad’s Sahajanand College with grace marks securing less than 50 per cent numbers.

In 2010, Hardik Patel, then 17, joined the Sardar Patel Group (SPG), an outfit for Patidar youths.  Hardik Patel benefitted from the interaction with a group of 50,000 members. He impressed the leaders of the SPG with his oratorical skills. Within a month, Hardik Patel was the president of the Sardar Patel Group’s Viramgam branch.

At the SPG, Hardik Patel learnt that the economic slowdown had affected the Patidar youths adversely. Their agriculture showed decline. The Patidar businessmen faced failures in their traditional businesses due to fierce competition from online outlets.

The diamond industry was in distress and more than small businesses owned by Patidars were being shut down. The Patidars did not get jobs easily due to tough competition and reservation to OBCs and other classes. These were startling discoveries for a young Hardik Patel.

He was getting more agitated at the Sardar Patel Group leading to rift with the senior leaders. Finally, in 2015, Hardik Patel was thrown out of the SPG following a conflict with its leader Lalji Patel.

EMERGENCE OF HARDIK PATEL

The ouster from the SPG was timed with another significant event of Hardik Patel’s life. In 2015, two years after Hardik Patel graduated, his sister Monica joined the Bachelor of Arts Degree in English.

The same year, Monica failed to secure a government scholarship. This wasn’t a welcome news for Hardik Patel. He soon came to know that a friend of Monica, who secured less marks in the qualifying examination, got the same scholarship through OBC quota.

This was the turning point in Hardik Patel’s life as an activist. He had already been ousted by the Sardar Patel Group. He now launched Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PASS) in July 2015. The objective of the PAAS was to secure OBC quota for Patidars while remaining apolitical.

Hardik Patel took to social media for promotion and attracting Patidar youths from all across Gujarat. He organised his first public rally at Visnagar in Mehsana district – the home district of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Hardik Patel claimed in his rallies that “a Patidar student with 90 per cent marks does not get admission in an MBBS course while SC, ST or OBC students get it with 45 per cent marks.”

Soon, he was addressing rallies across the state. His Surat rally was reportedly attended by 4.5 lakh people. Hardik Patel’s massive rallies became too frequent and uncomfortable for the Gujarat government. His rallies at Gandhinagar, Rajkot and Vadodara brought him in the national headlines.

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Hardik Patel also engaged with Kurmi and Gujjar communities from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in an attempt to form a bigger group of Patidar community. He also formed the Patel Navnirman Sena to launch a national level stir.

SEDITION CASE AGAINST HARDIK PATEL

With rising popularity, Hardik Patel also courted controversies and had a run-in with the law. In October, 2015, Hardik Patel was booked for insulting the national flag in Rajkot.

Soon, a case of sedition was slapped against him for his alleged “killing cops” remark at a rally at Mehsana. The case was filed at Surat. He was arrested by Gujarat police on sedition charge.

Hardik Patel was granted bail in July 2016 on the condition that he would stay out of Gujarat for six months and not return to Mehsana for nine months. During this period Hardik Patel stayed at Udaipur in Rajasthan.

Now, he has come back and again galvanising Patidar community attacking the BJP government. Hardik Patel has been campaigning against the BJP government alleging that it has failed the Patidar community. Hardik Patel is still drawing huge crowds in Gujarat keeping the BJP on its toes on the eve of Assembly election.

However, there is an interesting link between the BJP and Hardik Patel. Like the BJP, Hardik Patel proclaims himself to be an avid follower of former Union Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Lord Rama. But, the Gujarat election could prove to be a different ball-game altogether.

Source:India Todaygot a story-2


2 COMMENTS

  1. This guy who is from a privileged background and clearly he simply wanted free education for his sister. He is happy to see the underprivileged and those from disadvantaged and discriminated backgrounds be denied opportunities to study further and improve their lives and those of their families. It is an utter shame. In order to help the lot of the most discriminated and denied communities in India it is absolutely vital to give them a helping hand. His and his supporters’ problem is that they don’t want these communities to better themselves. It’s sad that such attitudes is what is keeping India back and in such a divisive way. Even in countries like USA and UK it is widely recognised that those from disadvantaged backgrounds must be assisted in order to improve their lot. Social mobility is everyone’s human right.
    The fact that his sister’s friend got slightly lower marks, it must remembered that the girl probably may have been from a poor background, didn’t have the facilities to study and her family may not have been able to afford her to get private tuition as his sister. Against this sort background even to pass the exams is some achievement. Perhaps this guy should read the MP David Lammy’s recent report.

  2. Please do not call him a leader. He is simply an agitator after personal gain. It is indeed a shame on the people of Gujarat, especially from his own Patidar community to fall for such a deceitful guy who is after personal glory, could not care less for his community, his State or his motherland Bharat. Fortunately the latest poll published by a major national newspaper puts BJP far ahead of Congress, even expected to do better than last time in 2012, exceeding the tally and these traitors who may join Congress, will have no effect on the poll. Patidar community is one of the most enterprising, well educated and better off than the ordinary Gujarati. It be criminal to give them special treatment under OBC. In fact these favor, special consideration for the backward, poor class was introduced for a short period of time, originally for ten years but now no political party has the guts to abolish it, treat all equally on merits. It has now become a permanent fixture just like Huj pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.This money is badly needed on the home front to educate Muslims who are one of the most deprived community, unable to keep pace with other communities like Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Christians. Let us hope that BJP in the second term with even increased majority, will have the courage to amend so many wrongs in Indian constitution, need uniform civil law for every one, separate Jammu from Kashmir and many more.

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