BHOPAL: A week after five farmers were killed in police firing in Mandsaur district of western Madhya Pradesh, Hardik Patel, the face of the Patidar movement, will visit the district on Tuesday. Four of the five farmers killed in the June 6 firing in Mandsaur were Patidars.
While Hardik Patel along with his supporters is likely to be restricted from entering Mandsaur district by local administration and police, close aides told the New Indian Express that no one can stop them from meeting their farmer brothers in MP.
Hardik Patel plans to hold a meeting of farmers first in Udaipur, after which he will travel to MP to meet Patidar farmers and kin of the deceased.
“I’ll certainly be in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday via Rajasthan to meet my farmer brothers on whom unimaginable atrocities have been unleashed at the behest of the government recently. I’ll talk to them and I am ready to support and lead their movement for genuine rights in whatever way they want,” said Patel.
Hardik Patel told the New Indian Express over the phone on Monday that, “The Patidar community from MP wholeheartedly supported the movement of their brothers in Gujarat. In the same way, I am also duty bound to support their movement in whatever way they want me to,” said Patel.
He added that he was ready to lead and support their movement in a peaceful manner, depending on whether the administration allows him to meet the farmers.
“I want to meet my community and the farmers, who are like my family. Why shall I be stopped from holding peaceful deliberations with my brethren in MP,” Hardik Patel said.
Hardik Patel, who is believed to have been in touch with Patidars in Madhya Pradesh in recent days, blamed the local administration for the violence and curfew. He called it the handiwork of the local administration to ensure that a climate of fear persists in the district.
Still not sure whether Hardik Patel will be allowed entry into Mandsaur, the president of the Patidar Samaj Sangathan, the community’s umbrella outfit in Mandsaur, Anokhilal Patidar said, “First, we’re not sure whether Hardik Patel will actually come down to MP on Tuesday. Secondly, in all likelihood, the administration will not allow him to enter to prevent possible breach of peace in the district, where normalcy is slowly returning.”
While Anokhilal Patidar remained tight-lipped over Patel’s prospects of motivating a movement by Patidar farmers, sources associated with Sardar Patel Yuva Sangathan- an umbrella outfit of young Patidars here - said they are keenly waiting for developments on Hardik Patel.
Patidar’s and political influence in MP:
The Patidars, a powerful farmer community mostly confined to Malwa region and Nimar districts in west MP, have traditionally been RSS and BJP loyalists, just like in Gujarat.
Along with the Dhakad community- a powerful farmer community mainly residing in Mandsaur, Ratlam and Neemuch- the Patidars have had major political sway in ten districts of west Madhya Pradesh and some pockets on the outskirts of Bhopal and Raisen.
Of the 44 seats in the ten districts, the BJP had won 40 seats in the 2013 polls, and swept all seven Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 general elections, particularly with Patidar support.
It also earned them Assembly seats in Indore, Dhar, Dewas, Neemuch and Mandsaur were largely won by the BJP.
“Over 10 lakh Patidars reside in three districts of Mandsaur, Neemuch and Ratlam, with a significant five lakh-plus population in Mandsaur district alone,” said Anokhilal Patidar.