Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel today hit out at Patel quota stir spearhead Hardik Patel, reminding him about the tensions that followed the caste and communal riots in the state in the past and appealed to people to avoid a potential “class conflict”.
The chief minister’s comments came a day after the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) broke its silence on the quota stir and hit out at 22-year-old Patel for his aggressive warnings at a mega rally in Ahmedabad on August 25, cautioning that the social fabric will be “destroyed” if the movement is allowed to become “divisive.
“We have to live with each other in the cities and in villages. There should not be any unnecessary tension in the society which results in class conflict. We have witnessed the results of such tensions in past (in Gujarat).
“But these 25 or 30-year-old youths do not know anything as they have not seen that era of Gujarat,” Patel said without taking the name of Hardik who is steering the quota agitation for Patidar community.
The chief minister’s comments also came against the backdrop of members of the Patel community stepping up their agitation and implementing “economic boycott” by withdrawing their deposits from banks.
“I have seen what happened in 1967, many of you must have seen what happened in 1985 and we have also seen what happened in year 1987,” she said referring to some of the caste and communal riots that had rocked Gujarat.
The chief minister also underlined that her government wanted every community to prosper through development.
“We do not want to deprive any of the communities from the fruits of development. We have to make attempts to instill peace in Gujarat. There should not be any discrimination on the basis of caste or creed,” she said addressing an event.
She also hit out at the agitators who resorted to violence and vandalised private and public property last month after Hardik Patel’s rally.
“Gujarat has achieved this development not because of government, but with the cooperation of six crore people of the state. Labour is needed for that. Labour is needed for development, but for destructing something, nothing much required,” she said.
“When a road is being constructed, labour is needed, when a house is being made, labour is needed in that also…when somebody has to run his household then labour is needed…but people who only do damage or vandalise, they do not need have to do anything,” she added
The chief minister also chided leaders of Patel quota stir for calling Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as their ideal.
“Sardar Patel had done that (work of instilling peace and unity) only. Otherwise merger of more than 400 erstwhile princely states could not have become possible. If that had not been done, what would have been the situation of Gujarat today,” she asked.
“That time Sardar Patel had united the country and we are following footsteps of Sardar Patel. There cannot be a rift between communities in Gujarat at all,” she added.
Anandiben also stressed that there is no discrimination against members of any community in the state.