Ahmedabad: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has extended support to the reservation stir of the Patels in Gujarat and agreed to attend a gathering of the community in the Saurashtra region on January 28, Patel community leader Hardik Patel said on Tuesday.
Nitish Kumar has expressed total support for extending reservation to the Patels just like the Marathas in Maharashtra, Gujjars in Rajasthan and Jats in Haryana, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convener Hardik Patel told local television channels from Patna.
Hardik, who is spearheading the Patels' quota agitation, is currently living in Udaipur in Rajasthan as per a Gujarat High Court order.
He had sought permission to visit Haridwar in Uttar Pradesh for a fortnight. After the High Court granted permission, Hardik landed in Patna to call on the Bihar Chief Minister.
Hardik's six-month exile from Gujarat is due to expire next month. PAAS has planned a "grand re-entry" of the young convener by organising a major function of the community in Saurashtra, the Patel stronghold in the state.
Reports reaching here said Nitish Kumar accorded the state guest status on Hardik Patel in Patna, where he was allocated a ministerial car with a red beacon and police escorts during his stay in the Bihar capital.
Patel said Nitish Kumar, who also belonged to the Kurmi caste that is similar to Patels in Gujarat, had always favoured reservation for the underprivileged groups like the Patels and promised to stand by them during their agitation against the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Gujarat.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi is also scheduled to visit the state on December 21 to address a gathering of the Patels in Mehsana in north Gujarat.
The reservation stir by the Patels started from Mehsana last year and spread to other parts of the state.
Riding on the anti-BJP wave among the Patels, the Congress captured both the Mehsana district and taluka panchayats in the elections held last year.
The visits of both Rahul Gandhi and Nitish Kumar to address the Patels and the threat of the PAAS to re-launch the reservation agitation with a new vigour once Hardik Patel returned from his exile are certain to unnerve the BJP government in the state.
The state goes to elect a new legislative assembly by the end of the next year.