Patidars create ruckus, BJP president Amit Shah booed at event in Surat
BJP president Amit Shah along with Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and other party leaders were booed off stage as the members of Hardik Patel's Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti created ruckus and vanadalised furniture at a programme to felicitate Patel leaders here.
Surat: BJP president Amit Shah along with Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and other party leaders were booed off stage as the members of Hardik Patel's Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti created ruckus and vanadalised furniture at a programme to felicitate Patel leaders here.
Chaos prevailed outside the venue as well as in Mota Varraccha area, where Patidar community members from the locality hurled stones at police.
The function, supposed to be the show of strength of BJP in the Patidar stronghold, wound up hastily within minutes with Patel leaders cutting short their speeches while Shah could speak for hardly four minutes amid sloganeering.
The ruckus started even before the commencement of the function with the Patel quota agitators raising slogans like "Jai Sardar, Jai Patidar" and hailing Hardik, even as they damaged furniture at the venue and flung chairs in air.
The programme was organised by 'Patidar Abhivadan Samiti', an outfit floated by a local businessmen, to felicitate Patidar leaders including the newly-appointed state BJP chief Jitu Vaghani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, Union ministers Purshottam Rupala and Manshukh Mandaviya.
Though police detained several members of Patidar community, the protest continued. The slogan shouting continued even when top BJP leaders like Shah and Rupani started their respective address, forcing them to cut short their speech.
While Shah wound up within four minutes, Rupani too could not speak for more than three minutes.
The organisers abruptly declared the programme closed and the leaders were whisked away.
The showdown was anticipated as the programme, viewed as BJP's outreach to Patels for 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections, was organised in the Patel-dominated Mota Varraccha area.
Hardik-led PAAS and Sardar Patel Group (SPG) of Lalji Patel, who are spearheading the quota stir, had called upon their supporters yesterday to protest at the venue of today's programme.
Surat SP Mayursinh Chavda said the situation in and around Mota Varachha is under control.
"The situation is totally under control. There was no untoward incident in the area. No one was injured during the entire incident," he said.
Surat rural police said at least 35 persons were detained, but there were no reports of violence.
PAAS termed the incident as its victory.
"For some time, there was a battle going on between BJP and Patels. Finally, we won the battle and stripped the dignity of BJP. A single appeal by Hardik has ruined entire program by BJP. I hope Amit Shah enjoyed his stay in Gujarat," PAAS spokesperson Brijesh Patel said in a statement.
State BJP president Jitu Vaghani blamed Congress for the incident.
"Patidar community has always been with the BJP and will remain with us. Let Congress, our opposition, do whatever they want to, it can't take away community's support from BJP," he said.
"BJP government has given security, development and it takes all communities together," he added.
Earlier, in his short speech Shah said, "Progress of BJP, Gujarat and Patidar community are interconnected. Looking at the history of Gujarat, the progress made by the Patidar community in the state is connected to the history of Gujarat. Similarly, the growth of BJP in the state is linked to the Patidar community".
"I express my gratitude to the community for the contribution made by it for the progress of the party," he said.
Shah said in the history of BJP, in progress from 1995 to 2016, Patidar community has made great contributions and the party accepts this contribution with all due respect.
Patel community is agitating for the last one year for its inclusion in the OBC category to avail reservation in government educational institutes and jobs.