Hardik's Patel fast continues; Harish Rawat, Prakash Ambedkar extend support
AHMEDABAD: Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat Tuesday urged Patidar leader Hardik Patel to end his indefinite fast, which continued on the 18th day.
Rawat, who was recently appointed as Assam Congress in-charge, met Hardik at his residence and extended his support.
Talking to reporters after meeting the quota stir spearhead, the senior Congress leader told reporters that he advised Hardik to end his fast and adopt other means of protest to highlight the issues.
"I told him that his life is very important for farmers, Patidars and youths of this country. I appealed to him to end his fast. Instead of hunger strike, he can explore other means, such as protests and foot march," Rawat said.
"I suspect that the BJP-led state government is waiting for Hardik's health to deteriorate. I appeal the community leaders to convince Hardik to end his fast," said Rawat.
Hardik began his indefinite hunger strike on August 25 at his residence near here demanding reservation for Patidars under OBC quota and loan waiver for Gujarat farmers.
Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar, after meeting Hardik, said time has come for the Parliament to discuss whether the 50 per cent cap on quota can be relaxed.
"Nowhere in the Constitution it is written that reservation cannot go beyond 50 per cent. That cap was put by the Supreme Court through a judgment," said the grandson of Dr B R Ambedkar.
"Today, when various agitations are taking place in the society over this issue, I think the Parliament should hold a debate whether we can relax this 50 per cent cap on quota for some years," Ambedkar added.
Meanwhile, several Gujarat Congress MLAs, including Lalit Vasoya and Asha Patel, besides leaders from Patidar community met Hardik and urged him to end the fast.
However, Hardik remained firm and continued his fast.