Lalji Patel, the Patel community leader jailed during the ‘Jail Bharo Andolan’, who was bailed out on Friday, met Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel to signal the Sardar Patel Group’s truce with the government.
Patel, along with seven other SPG core committee leaders, visited chief minister Anandiben Patel and cabinet ministers Nitin Patel and Vijay Rupani, after his release.
Patel said the government has been positive to the community’s various demands.
“We put forward 29 demands to the government from the community’s point of view and it seems most of them have been met,” he said.
“This is the first time we felt the government is taking a positive approach towards the entire issue. I believe nobody is above the community, neither me nor Hardik, and in the coming days we will go out into the community and discuss with them the government’s stance towards the issue. We don’t believe in carrying out an agitation for the sake of it, if anything is better for the community, than we will go along with it,” he added.
Nitin Patel, meanwhile, said the government would take a positive approach towards Hardik and the others who were in jail.
“Lalji felt, during his days in the jail as well as during the entire judicial process of his bail, that the government has taken a positive stand. He and the delegation expressed that they are satisfied with the government’s approach towards their demands. His gesture of paying us a courtesy visit itself suggests that. Even in the case of Hardik and others who are in jail, the government will be taking a positive approach,” he said.
Vijay Rupani said if the community had any demands, even in future, both sides would have no difficulty arriving at an amicable solution.
“Lalji’s visit suggests the Patel agitation is heading towards a peaceful end in the coming days. The BJP government and Patel community are both two sides of a single coin and we don’t want to hurt the community’s feelings. Lalji’s stand in the entire issue has been apolitical and in future if the community has any demands, from both the sides will reach an amicable solution,” Rupani said.
The big question now is about the fate of jailed Patel leader, Hardik, who is known for taking a different view from the rest of the Patel leaders, especially Lalji.
Even during the Patel agitation, whenever there was a possibility that the stir would be curbed by the government, Hardik made sure he sparked off enough controversial remarks to keep the issue burning.
“I will have a talk with Hardik on July 4th in the court room, when we both have a hearing for a case related to the agitation. In the past too, I have advised him to always stay focused on the community’s benefit and not enter into unnecessary clashes,” Lalji said.