AHMEDABAD: Members of Other Backward Class community under the banner of 'OBC Ekta Manch' will take out a rally tomorrow to register their protest against the 'reverse Dandi March' by the agitating Patel community, under their leader Hardik Patel, demanding quota.
"They (Patels) are going to hold a reverse Dandi March. To register our protest, people including women, children, men and elderly persons of 70 villages surrounding Dandi will hold a 'Pratikar Rally' against their march," OBC Ekta Manch president Alpesh Thakor told reporters here today. Stating that the rally would be taken out on the same route as of the reverse Dandi March, Thakor said the march would be peaceful.
He, through his outfit, claims to protect the rights of Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC). Earlier, Patel community members under the banner Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), headed by 22-year-old Hardik Patel, had held statewide agitation demanding that their community be included under OBC category for reservation, a move which the OBCs have vehemently opposed.
Hardik had last week announced to take out a reverse Dandhi March on Sunday from Dandi village to press for the demand. "They call it a reverse Dandni March, but we will take out straight Dandi March. What they (Patel leaders) are doing is violation of Gandhian ideology," said Thakor.
"Mahatma Gandhi had taken out Dandi March to unite the country against the British rule, but Patel leaders are doing this (agitation) to spread violence and anarchy in the society and divide society on caste lines," he added. Dubbing Hardik as an "anarchist", the OBC Ekta Manch president said the young leader was misguiding his supporters and suggested that the Patel community should change their leader.
"Hardik had said the first bullet will hit me before others if violence takes place. Ten people have lost their lives in his agitation. A situation of anarchy has been spread all across the state by his immature acts," Thakor said. "Under his (Hardik's) leadership, youths of the Patel community lost lives. Now they should think to change their leadership. Their leader should be mature," he added.
He also alleged that the BJP government in the state is backing the Patels' agitation and charged it with acting soft against protesters. Thakor, son of Ahmedabad Congress president Khodaji Thakor, said they have a close watch on the MLAs who are
extending support to Hardik. "We have been silently watching the movements of MLAs extending support to Hardik. We will not say anything now. But we will make a list of those MLAs and let the 2017 election come, we will show them our strength," he said.
Further, he said the SCs, STs and SEBCs, who are in the majority in Gujarat, have the power to uproot the government from power even before the next election. A survey would be done of villages of Gujarat from January next year to project the situation of people belong to SC, ST and OBC communities, he added.