Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to virtually inaugurate the Rs 200 crore ‘Sardardham’ building in Ahmedabad on Saturday, being projected as a one-stop business, social and educational hub for the Patidar community, the social media has erupted in protest.
Several Patidar youth organisations and individuals have strongly objected to the BJP presiding over their community’s huge event when its own government is still pursuing criminal cases against Patidar activists during the community’s struggle for quota under the OBC category.
WhatsApp and Facebook groups of Patidars have posted strong remarks against the BJP Government in Gujarat. Among their grievances is that the government has reneged on its promise to pay adequate compensation and provide jobs to at least one member of the 14 Patidar families who lost their sons during the agitation.
The social media posts also asserted that the State Government had deliberately not withdrawn scores of cases filed in various police stations in the State against Patidar youngsters involved in the agitation launched by now Gujarat Congress working president Hardik Patel.
Some posts also mention that scores of Patidar youth jailed during the 2002 communal riots were still in jails and the ruling BJP had not done anything about them.
Built over an area of 11,672 square feet near the Vaishnodevi Circle on the Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar highway, the Sardardham building has a residential facility for 1,600 students, an e-library with 1,000 computer systems, library, high tech classrooms, gymnasium, auditoriums, multi-purpose halls, resthouse with 50 luxury rooms along with other amenities for business and political conferences.
A 50-foot tall bronze statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel has been installed in front of the Sardardham building. The Prime Minister will also conduct the foundation stone laying ceremony for a Girls’ Hostel under Sardardham Project Phase 2 which will house 2500 girl students, also built at the cost of another Rs 200 crore.
The two centres at the Sardardham Project will also host aspirants for UPSC/GPSC, defence and other civil services entrance examinations, wherein they will be provided faculty for preparation as well as training for interviews and group discussions. The representatives of Vishwa Patidar Samaj said that students from all communities will get an opportunity to live and study at the Sardardham Bhawan.
According to Gagji Sutaria, a leader of the Sardardham, there are plans to create a global business body comprising 10,000 Patidar industrialists, while as many as one lakh bright youngsters will be enrolled in a youth organisation.
Meanwhile, the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti and Shri Sardar Patel Seva Dal (SSPSD), who were associated Hardik Patel earlier, are preparing to convene a conference of all denominations of Patidars cutting across political lines to remind the ruling party of its promises to the community.
Hardik Patel and other leaders will be invited to work for the benefit of the community. “It is not wrong to demand benefits for the community when the political climate is conducive,” SSPSD president Lalji Patel said.
According to Patel, they are planning to ask the government to resolve the pending issues of the Patidars if they want votes in the State Assembly elections next year. “They only come to us during the elections; we want them to first resolve our issues,” said a Patidar leader. They are raising the same grievances being referred to in social media posts.
(Photo: Mayur Bhatt)