AHMEDABAD: Prominent Patidar leader Naresh Patel on Sunday said the Gujarat government should speed up the process of withdrawal of cases lodged against the youths from his community in connection with the 2015 quota agitation.
Patel, an influential social worker and chairman of Shree Khodaldham Trust, said he will soon take a decision on which political party to join.
He was interacting with the media after meeting Congress leader Hardik Patel in Jetpur in Gujarat's Rajkot district.
Patel said while the BJP government is positively working towards withdrawal of cases against Patidar youths, it needs to expedite the procedure.
Recently, a court in Ahmedabad had allowed the government's plea for withdrawal of a rioting case against Hardik Patel and other accused from the community.
Patel was talking about more than 200 cases lodged against Patidar community leaders after violence broke out during the 2015 quota stir in the state.
"Cases against the youths are being withdrawn, but slowly. We request the government to speed up withdrawal of cases against the Patidars. This is one of the points we discussed at the meeting (with Hardik Patel and two other leaders of the agitation who accompanied him)," he said.
Congress leader Hardik Patel said the government began the process of withdrawing cases against the Patidars after Naresh Patel met the Chief Minister requesting him for the same.
"Since Nareshbhai met the Chief Minister and discussed the issue with him, the government has so far withdrawn 22-25 cases so far. But he has requested withdrawal of the remaining 244 cases at a faster pace," Patel said.
On the suspense of him joining politics ahead of the Assembly elections likely to be held in December, the Khodaldham Trust chairman said he will take a decision after one more round of meetings with more community leaders in another week or so.
Hardik and his key aides during the reservation agitation, Dinesh Bhambhaniya and Alpesh Kathiriya, who took part in the meeting, insisted on Patel taking a decision on joining politics at the earliest.
"We have requested him to take the decision (on joining politics and which political party) at the earliest and make an announcement regarding the same," Hardik said.
Naresh Patel has claimed in the past he has been approached by the Congress, BJP and AAP but has sought the opinion of the public through a survey before taking the plunge.
He is seen as a leader who can influence a significant number of Patidar voters, a segment crucial for victory in the Assembly election.