Ahmedabad, June 13: Former Union Aviation Minister and senior NCP leader Praful Patel today met a key aide of Hardik Patel here and expressed solidarity with the jailed quota agitation leader while extending support to the Patel community over their demand for reservation.
Notably, the Assembly elections in Gujarat are due next year. Recently, the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had lent support to the Hardik Patel-led agitation for the inclusion of Patel community under the OBC quota.
Praful Patel along with Gujarat NCP chief and party MLA from Umreth in Anand district Jayant Patel had a courtesy meet with Dinesh Bambhaniya, who is a key aide of Hardik Patel and one of the accused in the sedition case, here.
He had recently come out of jail on bail. "NCP is political party which believes in taking along all the classes and communities not just one particular community.
As far as Patel community is concerned, only time will tell as to how we will give due recognition and respect to their feelings," he told mediapersons after the meeting, when about NCP's plans of getting support of Patels for the 2017 elections.
Commenting on the ongoing quota stir by Patels, the NCP leader, without taking any names, slammed the BJP-led Gujarat government for being "insensitive". "It does not suit a political party to hurt the feelings of a community by rejecting their demands.
A political party must take along all the communities. NCP is ready to support Patel community over their legitimate demand (of reservation)," said Patel.
Earlier, senior Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela had extended his party's support to Hardik, who is lodged in Lajpore jail of Surat under sedition charges. He promised that his party will try its best to accord 20 per cent Economically Backward Classes (EBC) reservation for non-reserved category, double than what Gujarat government has given, if Congress comes to power in the state.
Recently, AAP, which has announced to contest on all the 182 seats in 2017, also lent support to Hardik and his agitation, as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal came out in support of Hardik through a video clip. In the clip, which was shown to media here on June 4, Kejriwal sympathised with Hardik and termed him innocent.
Kejriwal also slammed Gujarat government and said that Hardik only raised his voice for his community.