For the first time since Hardik Patel's agitation to get quotas for the Patel community took Gujarat by storm, Chief Minister Anandiben Patel has categorically ruled out their inclusion in the Other Backward Class (category).
"Only five percent of Patels are agitating and demanding reservation. There is no question of giving them quota. Will not let other communities suffer," Anandiben said on Sunday, The Times of India reported.
The chief minister's remarks came on the same day that Gujarat was holding elections for six municipal corporations. She was speaking during a poll campaign for the Bharatiya Janata Party in Rajula town of Amreli where district and taluka panchayat elections will be held on November 29, TOI reported.
Patel's overnight emergence and audacious criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his own turf has stunned the BJP-led state government in Gujarat as well as the NDA government at the centre. Hardik also warned the BJP government in Gujarat of defeat in the 2017 polls if his demands were not met.
Over the past four months, the state government made some efforts to engage with the Patel community over its quota demand.
Ahead of the panchayat election, however, Anandiben needs to assure existing communities in the OBC categories that their space will not shrink.
Making her point clear on Sunday, the chief minister said that she will not let other communities suffer.
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