GUJARAT– On the surface, the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) agitation is for OBC status. Not everyone is convinced. OBC leaders suspect the Patidars are out to get the very quota system scrapped. Even at the PAAS rally Tuesday, several youngsters told The Indian Express they would like to see caste-based reservation scrapped and instead have a quota for economically backward across communities. “Their demand is the same as it was in 1985; to scrap the reservation completely. This time, they have adopted a different method — give us reservation or scrap for all,” said Alpesh Thakor, leader of the OBC Bachao Andolan rallying against the Patel agitation.
Among the speakers at Tuesday’s rally was Vandana Patel, who had contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections on an AAP ticket. She cited an analogy: “A horse is superior to a donkey. Does that mean that to appease the donkey, the horse will have to suffer all the time and forgo its right?” Another Patidar leader on stage said members of the Patidar community, who form a large chunk of Indian immigrants to the US and Europe, had been leaving the country because of the ongoing reservation policy. “Had the reservation policy not been there, Patidars would have developed Gujarat better than the US,” he said. Paresh Patel, convener of the Patidar Reservation Movement of Vadodara City-District, also spoke against the existing reservation system. “A deserving young girl or boy from the Patel community has been left behind in every aspect of life just because there is someone who gets into a college or a job because he or she belongs to the reserved category,” Paresh Patel said. “Why should this injustice continue? Our fight is against this injustice where the deserving do not get what they want.” Another member of the community said, “People who understand what this demand is will know that it is actually a fight for the entire country that the Patels have started. The need for reservation is over as seven decades have passed. It is now time for the people who enjoyed these benefits to come forward and give it up for the sake of the future of this country’s youth. If they are unwilling to do it, then this agitation will continue and reach new places.” -Courtesy Indian Express