Stepping up their ‘economic non- cooperation’ campaign as part of the OBC quota agitation, Patel community members today queued up in large numbers at a bank in Sabarkantha district to withdraw deposits and enlisted women to hold protests at government and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) functions.
Scores of account holders turned up at the Kherol village branch of Sabarkantha District Co-operative bank and wanted to withdraw a whopping sum of Rs 9 core, a demand which the branch apparently found it difficult to meet.
After threatening to bar entry of politicians in their villages, the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, spearheading the stir, called upon women to hold protests at the venues of official and ruling BJP functions.
Responding to the call, community members, including women, joined the campaign at many districts across Gujarat like Jamnagar, Surendranagar, Amreli, Bharuch and Himmatnagar.
“Around 200 members of the Patel community, who are associated with the agitation came to our bank to withdraw their money,” branch manager of the District Cooperative Bank in Kherol village, Rakesh Mehta told PTI.
“We could not give them entire money, which is around Rs nine crore from three thousand account-holders of the Patel community, so we just gave them around Rs ten lakh today,” Mehta said.
Mehta said he assured the account holders, led by a former village sarpanch Kamlesh Patel, that the bank will return their entire cash day-after-tomorrow.
The Patel leaders demanding reservation for their community under OBC quota had earlier made an appeal to the people to withdraw money from banks to give a message to the state government, alleging the government has turned a deaf ear to their demand.
In Vadodara, some prominent members of the community withdrew money from banks. “I have withdrawn Rs 10 lakh fixed deposit. Government is using our money through banking channel. Now they cannot use that,” said Vadodara resident Kanti Patel.
Yesterday, a sum of Rs 20 lakh was withdrawn in a day from a cooperative bank in Vadrad village of Sabarkantha.
In Vadodara, BJP leaders, including MP from Chhota Udaipur Ramsinh Rathava, MLA Dinesh Patel and the party’s district chief Satish Patel, did not turn up to inaugurate a street-light project as the members of Patel community reached the spot and started shouting slogans against the government.
Women members of the community protested against the BJP leaders at several places in Jamnagar, Surendranagar, Amreli, Bharuch and Himmatnagar districts. BJP leaders had gone there to meet party workers of local units as part of preparations for the forthcoming local body polls.
The Patel women registered their protest by beating steel plates with spoons at various places.
At Halvad town in Surendranagar, some BJP members, who went there for local body polls, had to return sensing the fury of women from Patel community.