Two days ahead of a mega rally called by the Patel community to press their demand for OBC status, Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel today ruled out any reservation for them citing the Constitution and Supreme Court judgements.
The chief minister also urged the members of the said community to end their ongoing agitation.
“As per the Constitution and judgements of Supreme Court, we cannot make any changes in the structure of reservations for SCs, STs and OBCs, nor can we give reservation beyond 50 per cent,” she said today in a print and video message to the people of Gujarat.
“Various state governments at different points of time gave reservation by going against the constitution and Supreme Court judgements… We do not want to do that. This state government does not believe in making fake promises,” Patel said.
“Today, I make this appeal to end this agitation and join the path of the state’s development,” she added.
The chief minister’s public message came just two days ahead of the Patel community’s mega rally seeking Other Backward Class (OBC) status.
“A negative agitation is not good for any society, community and the government. In past, agitations have snatched livelihoods of the poor and common people. Violence and tension have an adverse impact on the economy,” she said.
The chief minister, meanwhile, asked agitators to hold talks with the government instead of organising rallies which, she said, may harm the economy of the state.
“The controversy triggered by the ongoing reservation movement has made its impact felt on the social life, which has created a situation of unease in society,” she said.
“We can find a solution through talks and negotiations on the issue of reservation. The state government has formed a committee of seven ministers to address the issue and we have also invited representatives of all the castes and communities, including Patel community. Talks are ongoing and I believe that a solution will come out of it,” she said.
While noting that the “future of our next generation, our children and our youth is the main concern behind this agitation for reservation and that is quite obvious” Patel, however, said that “we can solve the issue of impact of reservation while taking admission to higher education and government jobs by adopting an alternative solution”.
“The state government wants to do the needful by taking constructive suggestions from all castes and communities,” the Gujarat chief minister said.
“The simplest, easiest and permanent solution of the problems faced in education and jobs lies in development, which progressive societies understand,” Patel said.
“Agitation or the demonstration of power may become an issue of ego for some extremist minds. However, for a society like Gujarat, where people have wit and wisdom, this (agitation) will become negative and harmful for the future of Gujarat.
“I firmly believe that well wishers of Gujarat’s growth and society’s development will understand this,” she said.
Patel also cited the example of India’s first deputy prime minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, whose name is being used by Patel community leaders leading the agitation for reservation.
“Sardar Saheb, who is the inspirational source for our nation, wished for unity of all. It was his ultimate desire to make India a strong nation by achieving development and progress for all by eliminating discrimination on the basis of castes and creeds.
“With his political skill and unyielding morale, Sardar Patel gave unity and integrity to the nation,” she said.
“Is this agitation (for reservation under OBC status) following the way of Sardar? Let us think a little about it,” she said.
“We are children of Sardar Saheb’s motherland. Sardar Saheb wished for unity and integrity and, when the agitation is being carried out in the name of Sardar Saheb, don’t you feel it is an insult to (him),” Patel said.
She also made an emotional appeal to the youth who are participating in the agitation, saying they should instead join the various initiatives of the Gujarat government to free society from malnutrition, deadly diseases, superstition and wrong customs.