As Hardik Patel’s indefinite fast entered 12th day, the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) led by him announced Wednesday that he would stop taking water if the BJP government in Gujarat did not initiate talks with him in the next 24 hours.
Making the announcement at Hardik’s residence on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, PAAS convener Manoj Panara said government representatives must come to the fast venue and talk to the Patidar leader. Hardik’s health is deteriorating, but the government has not shown any intention to find a solution, he said. “If the government does not start talks with Hardik in the next 24 hours, he will stop drinking water. The entire state and its people are worried about him and praying for him, but it seems the government is not at all concerned,” Panara said.
After giving up water, Hardik will not have water again until the government starts talks, he said. “Our doors are open for talks. But government representatives need to come to the fast venue to hold talks with Hardik directly. Hardik does not want to talk in the air-conditioned chambers of government representatives,” he said. Last week, the quota leader had given up water for two days, but resumed the intake after being convinced by his supporters.
Referring to Tuesday’s meeting between state ministers and a delegation of some Patidar leaders in Gandhinagar, Panara alleged that the government was trying to mislead people by claiming that the mediation process had started.
“The government falsely claimed that talks have started. This is an attempt to mislead people. What is the use of such talks when no one approaches Hardik to brief him what exactly transpired during the talks?” the PAAS convener said. Patel launched the hunger strike on August 25 from his residence, demanding a loan waiver for Gujarat farmers and reservation for the Patidar community in jobs and education under the OBC quota.