Protesting Patidars chant ‘Hardik’, disrupt felicitation function of BJP Chief Amit Shah

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Updated: September 9, 2016 10:31:58 AM

The businessmen-led Patidar Abhivadan Samiti organised a programme to felicitate prominent Patidar BJP leaders and Amit Shah as part of the party’s run-up to Gujarat state elections next year.

Chairs were thrown at the police who tried to stop them as members of the Hardik Patel-founded Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) shouted anti-BJP slogans and rooted for Hardik. Chairs were thrown at the police who tried to stop them as members of the Hardik Patel-founded Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) shouted anti-BJP slogans and rooted for Hardik.

The businessmen-led Patidar Abhivadan Samiti (PAS) organised a programme to felicitate prominent Patidar BJP leaders and party president Amit Shah as part of the party’s run-up to Gujarat state elections next year but there was a huge uproar after protesting Patidars stormed the venue and started shouting “Hardik, Hardik,” — a reference to Hardik Patel who is in Udaipur serving a bail condition — and “Jai Sardar, Jai Patidar,”. They even disrupted proceedings and countered the “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” slogans from the stage. According to Indian Express, besides Shah, those on the dais included Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, his predecessor Anandiben Patel, BJP state president Jitu Vaghani, Union Ministers Parshottam Rupala and Mansukh Mandaviya and 44 Patidar MLAs of the BJP.

Chairs were thrown at the police who tried to stop them as members of the Hardik Patel-founded Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) shouted anti-BJP slogans and rooted for Hardik. People began leaving the venue after clashes broke out between PAAS and police which had staked out the venue since Wednesday. Amid the chaos, Patidar businessman Lalji Patel and his friends Sanjay Movalia, Manhar Kakadia, Mahesh Sawani and Mukesh Patel felicitated Shah, Rupani, Anandiben, Vaghani, and Rupala. Every one on the dais was worried. Rupala spoke for at least 15 minutes, followed by Vaghani who spoke the longest at 17 minutes, while Rupani spoke for three and Shah for five minutes. Every one dispersed by 8.30 pm.

“If we see the history of the BJP in Gujarat, the state has developed and even the Patidars have progressed. This shows that the progress of BJP, Gujarat and Patidar community are interconnected. I am assuring you that these three will remain linked with each other. I express my gratitude to the community for the contribution made by it for the progress of the party,” Amit Shah said. Protesting Patidars began tearing off banners outside the venue and throwing stones at buses, the programme which began at 7 pm and was scheduled to continue until midnight wound up in barely an hour and a half.

Over the last week, the animosity between PAAS and PAS had been growing over this event. PAS is led by Sawani and Mukesh Patel, a realtor, both of whom had been supporting PAAS and Hardik until two months ago. Things changed when Mukesh Patel put out a video on local television channels yesterday showing Hardik’s cousin Ravi Patel collecting Rs 25 lakh from him purportedly for a Patidar mobilisation event.

Police detained hundreds of protesting Patidars from the venue and took them to rural police station. Surat PAAS member Vijay Mangukia was also arrested as he was sitting in the press gallery and was shouting pro-Hardik slogans. He also used abusive language against Shah.

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