Patel community leader Hardik Patel on Sunday announced his intention to join hands with other communities to launch a nationwide movement for reservation in education and jobs, while criticizing the current government policy.
He asserted he will continue to fight for the poor people in his Patel/Patidar community.
"We are demanding reservation for the 95 percent poor people belonging to the Patel community. So the entire community should demand it, isn't it? Only five percent of Patidar community is prosperous, not the entire community," the Patidar Arakshan Andolan Samiti convener told media persons after arriving here from Gujarat.
"In my community, 95 percent people are poor. About 10,000 farmers belonging to our community committed suicide in the last decade. I am fighting for them. If other communities come forward, I'll support them as well... I am talking to everyone," he said.
Patel claimed that because of the current reservation policy, "the country has gone back 60 years. If you want to give reservation then give it to all... Reservation should be giving to meritorious students and deserving candidates, who deserve reservation but don't get it.
"The day a proper blueprint of reservation policy is drafted, that day, many can become a part of the country's development. If this done, then (India) will turn into a superpower ahead of China."
Patel came here on the invitation of Gujjar and Kurmi communities, which had organised a meeting at the Gujjar Bhavan in Kotla village.
"I had come to Delhi on the invitation of Gujjar and Kurmi communities in Delhi. They are our brothers and had arranged a sabha here. Very soon the movement will gain ground in the capital. It is marathon struggle and will go on for 1-2 years... They will support us and when need be will block the National Highway," he said.
On the issue of getting any political support, Patel said: "I don't have support from any political party or politician. There is no politician or political party involved in our struggle...neither do I want to become a politician.. I have the support of 70 lakh people in Gujarat and need to mobilize 27 crore Patels across the country. This is a struggle to secure reservation for Patel community under OBC quota."
"If it is like (late Shiv Sena chief) Bal Thackeray's style.. what is wrong in it?. I also like (Delhi Chief Minister) Arvind Kejriwal's principles, (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi ji's style of wearing kurtas and his policies on national security. But I won't take help from anyone, the entire country will help me," he added.
On future plans, he said: "Very soon a 'maharally' will be organised in Lucknow. We will also call the Patels from across the country at Jantar Mantar here. We'll continue to fight for our rights till we achieve success. We will launch our struggle in 12 states initially.
"Tomorrow there is a huge rally in Madhya Pradesh against police violence in Gujarat. We have demanded demanded compensation for the families of the people who died and suspension of police officials who perpetrated violence."
At least 10 people were killed and scores injured as protests demanding reservation in education and jobs for the Patel community turned violent in Gujarat last week.
About the reservation for only the economically backward class instead of caste-based reservation, Patel held this was not possible in the country.
"When the reservation policy was introduced in our country, we were opposed to caste-based reservation. We believed in hard work but now the system has become hollow. The youth is unemployed, farmers are committing suicide, MBA degree holders are becoming salesman. These people have come out in support," he added.
Image source: Hardik Patel Patidar/Facebook