Hardik Patel ends indefinite fast after 19 days, says fight for farmers, Patidars will continue
The 25-year-old leader had been on an indefinite fast since August 25.
AHMEDABAD: Gujarat's Patel agitation spearhead Hardik Patel on Wednesday ended his indefinite hunger strike after 19 long days and said that he will continue to fight for the poor farmers and reservation for the members of the Patidar community.
The PAAS leader ended his fast by accepting lime water and coconut water offered to him by the Patidar community leaders.
Hardik Patel had earlier informed his followers on Twitter about his decision to end his indefinite fast at 3 PM on Wednesday at the insistence of the senior Patidar community leaders.
The 25-year-old leader had been on an indefinite fast since August 25, the third anniversary of his massive Patidar rally in Ahmedabad on 2015 with demands of debt waiver for farmers, reservations for his Patel community in government jobs and educational institutions as well as release of his associate Alpesh Kathiriya, now in jail on sedition charges.
Putting responsibility of the Patel cause on the community's religious organisations, he said after breaking his fast, "This is only out of respect for you elders.''
"To show everyone that you are our elders and that we respect you, that we are all united. Now that my community elders are with me, I have nothing to worry or fear," he declared to applause among his supporters present at his residence where he broke his fast.
"The belief is that if we live, we shall fight and if we fight, we shall live," he said at his residence.
Indicating that he was not going to lie low, Patel continued, "If one speaks, one is dubbed anti-national and if one doesn't one is dismissed off as dumb. I think it is better to be called an anti-national and fight for our rights rather than be mute.''
"I am a horse, I am not going to be bogged down. I have been recharged by my 19-day fast and now is time to run for the coming 19 years," he said.
Patel called it an achievement of his hunger fast, which otherwise could not move the Gujarat government, that leaders of all the six Patidar bodies came together for his sake.
"Today, we have been able to bridge the deep divide between all the key community institutions who all are expected to stay united for our cause," he said.
Those who were present included leaders of the two main Khodaldham and Umiyadham, the highest religious places of Leuva and Kadva Patidars in Gujarat, who have been traditionally at loggerheads.
"If Hardik is there, we would have everything. But if Hardik is not there, there would be nothing," said Naresh Patel, leader of Khodaldham.
CK Patel, leader of Umiyadham institution, said this was a "golden" day. "One of our youngsters has decided to break his 19-day fast at the request of leaders."