New Delhi: The new and aggressive face of the Patel community in Gujarat, 22 year old Hardik Patel, was in the capital to talk to community leaders from Madhya Pradesh seeking their support for his campaign to get the community included in the Other Backward Castes (OBC) category for getting reservation benefits in education and jobs.
The commerce graduate who has become the poster boy of the campaign run by Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) in an exclusive interview with The Citizen said he is not affiliated to any right wing groups and is committed to fight till the demands of the community are met. The future of the campaign is not known but this boy is giving sleepless nights to the mainstream politicians and forcing them to rethink their strategies. The entire interview was in Hindi.
Question: Why are Patels, said to be an economically and socially affluent community, supporting you on reservations? The Gujarat government has always said that the Patels were synonymous with growth and development of Gujarat, a state that is a role model for India.
Answer: Patels are supporting me because they are without jobs despite having best of degrees. They are living on the edge. There is no support so far from any corner. In the past ten years there were approximately 8000 suicides and all of them were Patels farmers. Where is the change? I am telling you what we are living with and why we are on the streets.
Do you have a mentor? Some say you are being supported by the Congress, others say the BJP dissidents. Who do you feel closer to?
I do not have anyone behind me. I am not being supported by any political party. BJP, AAP, Congress, JD (U) nobody has anything to do with me. I am not close to anyone. I idolise Sardar Patel and follow Bala Saheb Thackeray.
So what is your next plan, where are you taking this movement?
The next plan is huge and within two days the whole world will come to know about it. Hindustan will witness the next big thing in two days. Just wait and watch.
Why is it that in your videos you seem more in tune with the BJP and the right wing organisations ? The symbols, slogans, and images portray you as a right wing follower?
It is not my problem. I have no affiliations and I have told you that. I have nothing to do with who is trying to align with me. I am not with them. If they are flashing my videos and pictures showing their symbols, slogans it is purely their problem. I am here to fight for the rightful demands of the Patel community. That will be done and I have to ensure it.
Do you believe in a secular India where all communities and castes should be equal or do you believe in a religious majority state?
India is basically for Hindus. I have no problem if the Muslims want to live in India as APJ Abdul Kalam. If they will live like Dr Kalam, we would love them. However, if they would want to live like Dawood then we will make it miserable for them.
Disclaimer: The article was first published in 'TheCitizen'. India TV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.