Who is Hardik Patel? What is the real story behind his detention?
By Charnamrit Sachdeva
| Saturday, September 19, 2015 - 14:24
NEW DELHI: The detention of Hardik Patel on Saturday has created a major chaos in Gujarat. Stopping a potential law and order situation, Surat Police detained Patidars leader Hardik Patel and at least 50 of his supporters when they attempted to launch an 'Ekta Rally' in Surat.
The rally, which the police claimed as 'unauthorized', was to press for the caste-based reservations for the Patel community spearheaded by PAAS. (Also Read: Hardik Patel detained in Gujarat)
Who is Hardik Patel?
An Indian political activist, 22-year-old Hardik Patel works for the inclusion of the Patel caste in the Other Backward Class (OBC) category in to qualify for reserved quotas in education and government jobs has gained popularity in less than three months. The young boy claims to have gained inspiration from idols like Mahatama Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Sardar Patel and Chandra Shekhar Azad but was unknown to the nation until June; however, he is a well-known face not only in Gujarat but across India.
Convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), BCom graduate Hardik graduated with less than 50% marks from Sahajanand College in Ahmedabad and comes from an average middle-class Patidar family from Viramgam. Initially, he helped his father run a small submersible-pumps business in rural Ahmedabad who is engaged in farming.
Hardik stirred up the Patidar masses
Nobody had really heard of Hardik Patel two months ago but now, Patel is a well-known man who has galvanized Patidar masses in a Gujarat-wide movement to claim reservations in the OBC quota. The young lad believes that his Patidar community is losing in the development competition due to the current reservation rule.
"A Patidar student with 90% marks does not get admission in an MBBS course, while SC/ST or OBC students get it with 45% marks,” he was quoted saying in a media report. Hardik further added that the Patidars were not against SC, ST or the OBC communities getting their due. The escalation of Hardik has left everyone, especially the political parties in unrest.
A member of the Sardar Patel Group (SPG), a leading Patidar youth body, and Hardik was earlier the President of its Viramgam unit. However, he was thrown out from the post as the leader of the SPG, Lalji Patel was not agreeable to the idea of Hardik promoting his PAAS via the platform.
But now, PAAS that was formed only in July formed in July only has shaken social and political stability of Gujarat by becoming the uniting force for Patels, so far the rock layer of support to the BJP.
After separating with the SPG, Hardik started focusing more on establishing PAAS even as SPG leaders filed an FIR against him accusing him that he failed to return Rs. 2 lakh he owed to the group.
Hardik commenting on the FIR claimed that it was lodged againt him on the orders initiated by the state government. Some old pictures of Hardik with VHP big head Pravin Togadia have also added fuel to the fire over the mystery of his source of strength.
In a recent controversy, a video clip emerged that showed a mixture of burning imaged that also includes Hardik holding guns. The video that went viral on social media has a provoking commentary running in the background. However, Hardik has maintained that the video comprises of nothing more than popular Bollywood song.