NEW DELHI: Hardik Patel, the face of Patel quota stir in Gujarat, today announced plans for a nation-wide agitation seeking reservation for nearly "27 crore people" of various communities including Gujjars and Kurmis.
The 22-year-old leader, who held a series of meeting with various community leaders here, said the reservation agitation "was a marathon and not a 100-metre race" and he intends to hold mega-rallies in different parts of the country to widen the stir.
"Whatever has happened in Gujarat, we want to take it at the national level and there are (people of) around 12 states who are connected to us," he said.
Hardik had led a massive rally on August 25 to press for quota for Patidar community under OBC category in Ahmedabad. His detention was followed by widespread violence which claimed the lives of ten people including a police constable and kept the state administration on tenterhooks.
"It (agitation) is a marathon and not a 100-metre race. It will go on for 1-2 years. I intend to bring 27 crore people our community together which are in different states. I want to take our movement all over the nation. Wherever the Patel community needs me, I will go.
"During this time, if we feel the need for muscle power of the community, they will help us. And whenever required they will block the highways," Hardik told a news conference at the Press Club here.
In his reference to 27 crore people, Hardik was referring to related communities in other states like Kurmis and Gujjars.
"We intend to organise a mega rally in Lucknow, Jantar Mantar.... we will give a call to the Patels of India," he said.
Favouring reservation for poor from every community, he said, "The country has gone back 60 years because of reservations and this has hindered its prospects of becoming a super power. Those who score good marks but are still unable to get admission require reservation.
"The day there is a proper blueprint on reservation, we can strengthen our country and take it to a new level."
Hardik, the convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, skipped the funeral of Swetang Patel, who was killed allegedly in police custody after being picked up during the agitation in Ahmedabad, though he had yesterday said that he would be present, and flew to Delhi this morning.