AHMEDABAD: Amid widespread protests by the Patel community demanding reservations in government jobs under OBC quota, the Gujarat government is considering a special scheme for general category students who don't enjoy such benefit.
"The state government is preparing a scheme to provide financial assistance to all non-reservation category students, including Patels. Under this scheme, the state government will bear various educational expenses, like tuition fees and hostel fees of these students," Gujarat Health Minister and government spokesperson Nitin Patel said today.
However, Lalji Patel who leads the Sardar Patel Group (SPG), which is now a part of the Patel community umbrella organisation called Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti that spearheads the Patel quota agitation, refused to accept any such scheme.
"We don't want any such schemes. We only want reservation in education and jobs. Our agitation will not stop until our demands are met," Lalji Patel of the Sardar Patel Group said.
Meanwhile, the Patel community held massive rallies in Vadodara, Bharuch and Ankleshwar in Southern Gujarat, as part of their statewide agitation.
Incidentally, a seven-member committee headed by Gujarat Health Minister and government spokesperson Nitin Patel held a meeting with Patel leaders earlier, but it ended without any breakthrough.
Meanwhile, the Patel community is now gearing up to hold a mega rally in the city on August 25 as a show of strength, after the police granted them permission yesterday, even as its organisers claim that around 20 lakh Patels would participate.
Considering the scale of the Patel rally, Nitin Patel cautioned organisers to be careful of "anti-national" elements.
"We have to be very vigilant when such a large number of people gather at one place. I want to advise organisers to be more careful. They should not let anti-national and anti-social elements take advantage of the situation," Patel said.