Ahmedabad: Gujarat's Patel community leaders, who are demanding reservations under the Other Backward Caste (OBC) quota, on Wednesday started an indefinite hunger strike at the Sabarmati riverfront, a day after the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) denied permission for a rally by them on August 25.
Community leader Ketan Patel alleged that the denial of permission to hold the rally came at the behest of some political leaders, who did not want Patels to do so since more than 20 lakh Patels were expected to attend the event.
"The AMC denied us permission claiming that the riverfront ground can't be used to hold rallies, but we are firm that we will hold our mega rally by any means at the venue. Since we were denied permission, Patel leaders including me, sat on an indefinite hunger strike at the ground from this evening," said Patel, who was accompanied by 10 other Patel community leaders.
However, Gujarat Minister of State for Home Rajni Patel claimed that the administration never denied permission for the rally on August 25.
"The civic body merely said that the rally can't be organised at the riverfront. This does not mean that we have denied them to hold the rally at all. The permission may have been denied looking at the capacity of that venue or keeping in mind the law and order situation," the minister said.
"To find a solution, the government will hold a meeting with Patel leaders. We will make all efforts to arrange an alternate venue for their rally," the minister said.
Meanwhile, a seven-member committee formed to look into claims by different communities demanding reservations held separate meetings with Patel leaders of Surat and Saurashtra region.
The committee, formed to consider representations from different communities demanding reservations, also met Kshatriya community leaders at Gandhinagar today.