Days after vowing to continue with the quota stir even if it cost him his freedom, Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Friday said he was open to negotiations with the state government to break the deadlock over the OBC status demand. “We are in favour of negotiations (with the government),” said the 22-year-old convener of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti outside Vijapur court in Mehsana.
He was brought to court by Surat police in connection with the hearing of a loot case and is lodged in Surat Rajpore Jail in connection with a sedition case.
Hardik’s change in stance has come when the Gujarat government, after negotiations with senior community leaders, has withdrawn 74 FIRs against agitators booked for damaging public property in August 2015.
His statement is significant given that on three previous occasions between July and September 2015, Hardik did not go to meetings called by the government. At the end of the only meeting held between them last year, the government had declared a special education package for upper caste students.